Changes to the Magistrates Court Civil Procedure
By Tim Kennedy, Legal Practitioner Director
Amendments have recently been made to the Magistrates Court (Minor Case Procedure) Rules 2005 (WA) and the Magistrates Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2005 (WA). These amendments came into effect from 1 October 2016 and relate to:
- the stage at which a statement of claim is lodged;
- the stage at which a defence is lodged;
- the procedures for the listing of a Pre-Trial Conference.
Prior to 1 October 2016, after a claimant commences an action in the Magistrates Court the matter is listed for a Pre-Trial Conference without the need for the parties to prepare and lodge their statements of claim and defence. This was ostensibly to avoid the costs associated with preparing and lodging statements of claim and defence if the matter is resolved at the Pre-Trial Conference.
Under the amended provisions, the statements of claim and defence must now be lodged prior to the listing of a Pre-Trial Conference. In our view, the increased cost of preparing the statements of claim and defence is outweighed by:
- the benefit of the knowledge of the other party’s case and position;
- the better prospects of constructive negotiations on defined issues.
To find out more about these changes, contact us on (08) 9476 4499.