Land Court Rules 2022 An updated set of rules for Queenslands Land Court
20 December 2022
20 December 2022
The raft of changes modernises and updates the rules to bring them into line with Land Court procedures brought in by way of practice directions and legislative amendments. These changes also introduce some new rules. Some of the key amendments to the rules relate to:
The new rules require each party to a proceeding to file a statement of facts and issues with the Registry. The statement of facts and issues must comply with the requirements set out in the new rules. For example, the statement must be in the approved form and state:
The previous rules did not provide for the parties to file a statement of facts and issues.
The new rules provide for the Court to establish a panel of persons to conduct alternative dispute resolution of matters, known as the "Land Court ADR panel". The new rules also provide for the Court to refer matters to ADR.
The Land Court ADR panel was established some time ago, with Practice Directions 1 of 2018 and 4 of 2020 setting out the relevant procedures and practices for the operation of the panel. This concept has now been brought into the Land Court Rules.
The new rules broaden the scope of the procedural requirements for expert evidence. For example, they set out the parameters within which communication between experts and parties may occur while a joint expert meeting is on foot. Responses to communications by experts must be in writing, addressed to the experts jointly and in terms agreed to by the parties (or as directed by the Court) to ensure transparency and fairness.
The new rules also provide for the Court to direct that a proceeding be subject to an expert process facilitated by a Court-appointed and appropriately qualified person, known as a convenor. In essence, the convenor will facilitate the preparation of expert evidence, work with the parties to manage the expert process, work with the experts and assist in case management. However, there are limits on what a convenor can do. A convenor is not able to decide any substantive issue or procedural dispute, nor can they preside at a hearing, final hearing or appeal against a decision made in the proceeding. The Court-directed process for experts set out in the new rules generally reflects the Court managed expert evidence – or "CMEE" – process outlined in Practice Direction 6 of 2020.
Consistent with the previous rules, the new rules provide for the Court to dispense with oral hearings in certain circumstances. The new rules clarify that a proceeding – or an application in a proceeding – is decided without an oral hearing if it is decided on written material and submissions without appearances from the parties. Oral hearings, however, are still standard and may be conducted (all or in part) by audio visual link, audio link or another form of electronic communication approved by the Court.
The new rules provide for documents to be filed, given, made or issued electronically. A document filed electronically will be taken to have been filed on the day it is received by the Registry, provided the whole document is received before 4.30pm on a day the Registry is open for business. Otherwise, it will be deemed to have been filed on the next day the Registry is open for business.
The new rules provide for the Court to order a lawyer or agent to repay all or part of any costs order made against their client if the costs were incurred because of the lawyer's or agent's delay, misconduct or negligence.
The new rules provide for a party to apply for an order for disclosure, although nothing prevents parties from agreeing to disclose documents by consent. The application must outline the proposed scope of the disclosure.
The new rules also prevent a party from applying for an order for disclosure, unless the order would be in accordance with the main purposes of the rules. In essence, the main purposes of the rules are to ensure that:
The previous rules did not address disclosure in detail. Instead, they referred to Chapter 7 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld), which deals with disclosure.
Author: Amaya Fernandez, Senior Associate
The information provided is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all developments in the law and practice, or to cover all aspects of those referred to.
Readers should take legal advice before applying it to specific issues or transactions.