The Federal Court takes its fast-track case management system national today after litigation experts backed its implementation.
The new system will dramatically cut the length of litigation in the Court, Daniel Marquet, partner at Corrs Chambers Westgarth told The New Lawyer.
Marquet, who was involved in the fast-track scheme being rolled out in Victoria with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, ahead of the national system, said it has lead to “matters that would have in the past gone on for years or so being knocked over in months and in some cases weeks”.
Marquet said: “We just ran a nine day trial from the fast track list which was reserved. And that would have taken months in the County Court, so it’s a great initiative.”
Under the fast-track system, judges have been required to undertake rigorous case management in trade practice and intellectual property cases, among others, in Victoria since 2007.
Chief Justice Michael Black told The Australian and The Australian Financial Review the point of fast track is a high focus on relevance and a discarding of what is not.
He said the ACCC and general counsel of major companies can go to their board and tell them when the case will be finished and approximately how much it will cost, reports The Australian Financial Review.
Marquet said the new scheme is a not an attempt to clear a backlog of cases, but rather focus on the future cases and moving them quickly through court.
“It’s a great way of wrapping up your medium-sized cases or technical legal case which is a trial in a few days in a matter of months, when it could languish in a normal docket list for years,” he said.
Pressed as to whether fast-tracked cases means less work for lawyers, Marquet said that while cases will go faster, “if litigation is managed efficiently and quickly, more people should be coming to the Court”.
“The ACCC has run a lot of cases that would probably still be sitting in the list. It opens opportunities to run new cases and I think for other commercial parties it makes going to court far more attractive.”