The Federal Court of Australia established an Insurance List for short matters in December 2015 which will commence in Melbourne on 10 and 11 March 2016 before being rolled out in other cities.

An information session was held by The Honourable Chief Justice Allsop on 10 March 2016 to explain the list. His Honour gave some guidance to practitioners and industry representatives about how the list is expected to run and its aims.

The list, if embraced by practitioners and the industry, should assist parties on appropriate matters to use the Court more nimbly and cost effectively to determine short policy construction or, for instance, section 54 non-disclosure issues where there is otherwise Federal jurisdiction. Chief Justice Allsop met with industry and practitioner representatives in Sydney and London before introducing the list late last year. His Honour noted that there was an enthusiasm for the list expressed to him by these parties. It is intended that the list will deal with confined questions, the determination of which may assist the parties in settling cases. The aim is to have matters heard within 2 hours then determined (including any required appeal) within 3 to 6 months, on a fast track basis. Filing of a matter in the list does not need to be consented to by all parties but it is hoped this occurs, along with a co-operative approach to agreed facts and other matters. In appropriate cases, there may be scope for confined evidence to be heard, but matters will be referred to other Judges in the Court if they are likely to require more than a short hearing. There is also the prospect that if the Insurance List for short matters is successful, it will be applied to other types of disputes in the Court (ie tax and intellectual property matters).

Additional information regarding the Insurance List is available on the Court’s website. An email list for users is being created by the Court. Watch out for future blog updates on matters heard and determined in the list.