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Federal Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Case Management Handbook

Important Note:

The introduction of the Federal Court’s National Court Framework reforms, including the extensive revision of the Court’s Practice Notes, has effected a fundamental reform of the Court and the way that it operates. The Case Management Handbook is currently under revision to seek to ensure that it reflects these changes. It is envisaged that the structure of the revised Handbook will be closely aligned with the organisation of the Court’s new Practice Notes and be responsive to the content and practices reflected in them.

Among other things, this will necessitate the re-writing of existing chapters and the writing of extensive new content. The revision of the Handbook is a significant project and will take some time. While this revision is underway, you should be aware that not all chapters of the Handbook will reflect the new Practice Notes. Existing chapters still contain useful observations regarding case management principles, but as they were written before the introduction of the new Framework they should be read with this in mind. Where a chapter is under revision or has not yet been written, that has been noted. The current version of the Handbook is available at the link at the foot of this page. As chapters are revised and new chapters are written, they will be published and will be available at the second link at the foot of this page.

The Federal Litigation Section of the Law Council of Australia is very pleased to publish the Federal Court of Australia Case Management Handbook. This initiative has grown out of continuing close liaison between the Court and the Section and ongoing workshops and discussions regarding the best approaches to the management of cases before the Court.

Particular mention should be made of John Sheahan SC, who first floated the idea of a Handbook and was involved in writing key chapters as well as arranging for the other contributions; and of the learned and innovative work of the other authors, Steven Finch SC, Philip Crutchfield SC, Roger Forbes, Chris Rogers, and Leon Zwier.

The Hon. Justice Michelle Gordon has been a driving force behind the Court's innovative approaches to more effective case management. Her Honour's  encouragement has been decisive to the development of the Handbook.  

The Handbook, in a draft form, was the subject of considerable discussion during a joint workshop conducted by the Federal Court and the Federal Litigation Section in August 2011. The outcomes of this workshop have moulded the version of the Handbook which we now publish.

The work on the Handbook does not stop here, however. It will remain a living document which will be subject to ongoing review and updating. Additional chapters will be added over time which will draw on the experience of practitioners and Judges in other aspects of the Court's work. Existing chapters will be regularly reviewed to ensure they remain current and relevant.

We commend the Handbook to users of the Federal Court.


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