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  • Written communication with courts is formal correspondence which must be prepared by legal practitioners, not unqualified staff.
  • Writing to court is a proxy for appearing before a judge in person and legislated obligations apply to correspondence, including potential penalties for poor practice.
  • Practitioners should never usurp judicial discretion by assuming that a court will make the orders they seek, including where proposed orders are agreed between the parties.

The last decade has seen significant change to the way practitioners communicate with the courts. From the instigation of an online registry and then online court to the hybrid model we find ourselves in following years of COVID-19 disruption, it is no wonder that confusion, inconsistencies and a lack of understanding has crept in for more junior practitioners.

Changes in court practice have not reduced professional obligations of courtesy

The rules which govern professional legal conduct in court communications require both courtesy and respect. Whilst courts were flexible and forgiving during the COVID-19 period, recently, judges have felt compelled to remind solicitors of their expectations, particularly regarding appropriate communications with the court. Amirbeaggi (Trustee), in the matter of Billiau (Bankrupt) v Billiau [2023] FedCFamC2G 949 (‘Amirbeaggi’) is an important reminder of court expectations.

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