The reforms under the Civil Dispute Resolution Act 2011, which the Government says will result in more people resolving disputes before going to court, take effect today (1 August).
"Under the new requirements from today, litigants to matters in the Federal Court of Australia and the Federal Magistrates Court must file a statement setting out the genuine steps they took to resolve their dispute and, if they took none, to explain why," said Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland.
"These changes will increase access to justice for the community by encouraging realistic - and less costly - alternatives to litigation."
According to McClelland, the changes will achieve more efficient administration of justice and reinforce the idea that litigation in the courts should be the last resort.
"Parties can benefit from exchanging information, narrowing the issues in dispute and exploring options for resolution leading to more matters being settled by agreement earlier on, before significant costs have been incurred and legal positions become entrenched," he said.
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