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Minister Welcomes Re-write Of Court Rules

Minister Welcomes Re-write Of Court Rules

Courts Minister Hon Rick Barker welcomed Parliament’s passing of the Judicature (High Court Rules) Amendment Bill last night.  The legislation implements a major rewrite of the High Court Rules, which govern civil proceedings in the High Court.

“This may not be the most exciting piece of legislation to pass before the House this year, but for Court users it will be a considerable improvement,” Mr Barker said.

The new Rules will enhance accessibility for all Court users, as the language is easier to comprehend, and the structure and layout are considerably improved.

The new Rules, which come into force on 1 February 2009, will closely follow the content of current Rules, with additional provisions to respond to contemporary needs.  One of these provisions will enable e-filing, from a date to be determined by Order in Council.

“E-filing is something I am really keen on, it will allow a much more efficient flow of matters through the courts,” Mr Barker said.

Minister Barker said he was particularly impressed by how cooperatively the House had worked to expedite the legislation, recognising the value and importance of this piece of work.

“After a lengthy consultation process, we introduced the Bill at the beginning of August and it passed in under two months. It’s a credit to the quality of the work that we had such unanimous support.”  

The legislation is the culmination of more than five years of endeavour by the Rules Committee.  The project was lead by Justices Baragwanath and Fogarty, and greatly benefited from the extensive legal knowledge and drafting skills of Dr Donald Mathieson QC, Special Counsel to the Parliamentary Counsel Office.

Mr Barker paid tribute to the many Judges, senior lawyers, legal academics, Members of Parliament on all sides of the House, and others who helped bring the legislation to fruition.

The new High Court Rules represent an important improvement in civil procedure for all Court users, the Minister concluded.


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