On 24 March 2011, the Civil Dispute Resolution Bill 2010 (Cth) was passed through parliament.
This Act aims to 'ensure that, as far as possible, people take genuine steps to resolve the dispute before certain civil proceedings are instituted'. If efforts at dispute resolution are unsuccessful and proceedings are issued, each party must file a 'genuine steps statement' to the effect that genuine steps have been taken to resolve the dispute.
The Act does not prescribe what genuine steps must be taken but rather permits the parties to prescribe what steps are appropriate in the circumstances.
The main provisions of the Act will commence on a date to be proclaimed.New South Wales
The pre-litigation requirements contained in Schedule 6.2 of the Courts and Crimes Legislation Further Amendment Act 2010 (NSW) have been proclaimed to commence from 1 April 2011. Schedule 6.2 will amend the Civil Procedure Act 2005 (NSW) by inserting a new Part 2A, titled 'Steps to be taken before the commencement of proceedings'.
The pre-litigation requirements include that each person to a civil dispute must take reasonable steps to resolve the dispute or clarify or narrow the issues in the dispute. Reasonable steps include:
- notifying the issues
- responding by communicating about the issues
- exchanging correspondence, information and documents
- considering and proposing options for resolving the dispute
- taking part in alternative dispute resolution processes
On 24 March 2011, the Civil Procedure and Legal Profession Amendment Bill 2011 (Vic) was passed through parliament.This Act repeals the pre-litigation requirements of the Civil Procedure Act 2010 (Vic) which were due to come into effect on 1 July 2011. However, the Act does provide that the court can make specific protocols for specified civil proceedings or classes of civil proceeding including mandatory or voluntary pre-litigation processes.
The Act will commence when Royal Assent is received.