The Civil Dispute Resolution Act 2010 (Cth) was passed on 24 March 2011 by the Commonwealth parliament, likely to come into operation in the next month. The Act relates to certain proceedings in the Federal courts. The Act:

  • requires civil litigants to take “genuine steps” to resolve their disputes prior to filing proceedings in court unless those litigants have sufficient reasons for not doing so or the relevant proceedings are “excluded proceedings”
  • requires both parties to file a “genuine steps statement”
  • requires lawyers acting for persons to whom the Act applies to advise their client of the genuine steps statement requirement, and assist them to comply with that requirement
  • gives the court power to have regard to a party’s compliance with the genuine steps requirements when exercising its general powers and functions and in exercising its discretion to award costs

Part 4 of the Act excludes certain proceedings from the genuine steps requirement, including proceedings relating to:

  • civil penalty provisions
  • criminal offences
  • decisions of certain Tribunals
  • appeals
  • Subpoenas, warrants