About this NPA
The Commercial and Corporations National Practice Area (NPA) covers:
- commercial contract disputes
- disputes concerning the conduct of corporations and their officers
- financial and transactional disputes
- insurance disputes
- all insolvency matters, both corporate and personal
- commercial class actions
- consumer claims (including Regulator claims)
- competition matters (including Economic Regulator-related matters)
- international commercial arbitration disputes.
This NPA consists of six Sub-areas and each has a dedicated group of judges with expertise in that Sub-area:
- Commercial Contracts, Banking, Finance and Insurance Sub-area includes commercial contracts and matters relating to insurance, banking, finance and commercial transactional disputes
- Corporations and Corporate Insolvency Sub-area includes Corporations List matters, such as:
- the appointment or conduct of liquidators
- corporate insolvency matters, such as voidable transactions, extending of convening periods and cross-border insolvency
- schemes of arrangement
- shareholder oppression actions
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission actions, such as the approval of director appointments, winding up of companies, fundraising matters, corporate management and misconduct by company officers
- corporations matters referred to a Judge by a Judicial Registrar.
- General and Personal Insolvency Sub-area includes bankruptcy matters referred to a Judge by a Judicial Registrar and personal insolvency matters, including:
- applications by trustees in the management of bankrupt estates
- applications by bankrupts contesting decisions of a trustee
- applications for annulment of bankruptcy.
- Regulator and Consumer Protection Sub-area includes:
- consumer-related matters such as misleading and deceptive conduct, unconscionable conduct, unfair commercial practices, product liability matters and false advertising
- Australian Consumer Law actions by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
- Economic Regulator, Competition and Access Sub-area includes:
- matters concerning anti-competitive conduct, including cartel matters (civil), mergers, misuse of market power and exclusive dealing
- competition actions by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
- infrastructure access and regulatory pricing.
- International Commercial Arbitration Sub-area which covers matters concerning international contractual disputes under the International Arbitration Act 1974 (Cth) including:
- scope of jurisdiction of an arbitral tribunal
- stay applications and setting aside arbitral awards
- enforcement of a foreign award or arbitral award
- appointment or termination of appointment of an arbitrator
- enforcement issues pursuant to the UNCITRAL Model Law.
This is a general guide to the types of matters in each Sub-area and is not intended to be exhaustive.
The Court is of the view that case management should reflect a practical business-like method of resolving a problem that eliminates unnecessary process-driven costs. It expects, particularly in commercial matters, that parties and their lawyers approach the litigation in a thoughtful, practical and common-sense way.
To facilitate this, the Court is encouraging:
- new mechanisms, such as the “concise statement method”, to expedite the commencement of commercial disputes
- tailored case management, to ensure the matter is managed in the manner best suited to its character and needs
- targeted document production and evidence procedures, such as “the Redfern Discovery Procedure” and the “Memorial Procedure”
Expediting a commercial dispute – Concise Statement Method
Under the NCF reforms and new practice documents, you may now seek to expedite your hearing process by any of the expedited processes available, including by way of the new “concise statement method”.
The Court anticipates that the majority of Commercial and Corporations matters will be assisted by being commenced with a concise statement. For details about the concise statement method see the National Court Framework webpage and the Central Practice Note (CPN-1) and Commercial and Corporations Practice Note (C&C-1).
The former Fast Track mechanisms permitted parties to seek a quicker or more truncated hearing process than usually available and to use less formal pleadings. The Fast Track procedure was effectively a commercial list procedure and such a procedure, or other effective and commercially sensible methods of commencing or expediting proceedings or introducing informal pleadings processes, remains open to the parties in this NPA. The procedure for the Fast Track mechanisms are set out in the former Practice Note: CM8 - Fast Track.
If a Fast Track or other expedited proceeding process is appropriate, the Court will attempt to provide a judge who has the necessary time available to devote to an expedited process and hearing.
Case management imperatives - first case management hearing
The first case management hearing is integral to the case management of a commercial matter, with the aim of identifying the issues in the matter at the earliest possible stage.
The Court expects that prior to the first case management hearing parties will consider and discuss with the other parties the “case management imperatives”, which are set out in the Court’s Central Practice Note, with some additional specific imperatives set out in the Commercial and Corporations Practice Note.
The case management imperatives that the Court expects parties to have considered include:
- identifying and narrowing the issues in dispute and making appropriate admissions in relation to the facts and matters which are not seriously in dispute
- considering any alternative dispute resolution, including mediation
- considering if any issues can be dealt with separately – such as preliminary issues of fact and law, or liability and quantum or penalty
- considering if expert evidence is required and if so, how best to put forward evidence – ie. by affidavit, statement, oral evidence or a combination
- discussing how to eliminate or reduce the burden of discovery
- agreeing on the time for trial and how it may be divided.
The Court’s national duty system has dedicated Commercial and Corporations NPA Duty Judges who provide timely and proactive responses to urgent Commercial and Corporation duty matters.
Practitioners can liaise directly with the chambers of the Commercial and Corporations Duty Judge to ensure that genuinely urgent matters are heard as soon as practicable. An urgent matter can be heard at any time, including, for cases that must be heard immediately, outside of business hours.
All practice notes are to be read with the Central Practice Note. It is the essential guide to practice in the Federal Court in all proceedings.
Central Practice Note (CPN-1)
The NPA practice note sets out the arrangements for the management of Commercial and Corporations proceedings:
NPA Practice Note:
Other general practice notes and Court developed guides which may be relevant to this NPA include:
General Practice Notes:
Forms, Rules & Fees
Filing fees for commencing a proceeding in this NPA may apply. Information about Court fees, including the fees payable and circumstances where an exemption or deferral can be given is available on the Forms, Fees & Costs section of the Court’s website or from the Registry.
Commencing a proceeding in this NPA
Specific forms and rules for commencing proceedings in this NPA are available for each of the Sub-areas listed above.
In addition to the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) (Rules), in the Corporations and Corporate Insolvency Sub-area and the General and Personal Insolvency Sub-area, the following rules apply respectively:
- Federal Court (Corporations) Rules 2000 (Cth) (Corporations Rules)
- Federal Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2016 (Cth) (Bankruptcy Rules)
Subject to any specific legislative requirements relating to proceedings in any of the NPA Sub-areas, a Commercial and Corporations proceeding will generally be commenced by filing:
Parties should consider whether it is necessary to file a Genuine steps statement (Form 16) in certain proceedings in this NPA - see r 8.02 of the Federal Court Rules and the Civil Dispute Resolution Act 2011 (Cth) (including sections 6, 7 and 16).
- 17 May 2021:
Ball (Liquidator), in the matter of ACN 141 037 229 Pty Ltd (in Liquidation) (formerly known as "Think Money Wealth Through Property Pty Ltd")  FCA 521
CORPORATIONS - consideration of an application under s 588FF(3) for an extension of the period within which an application may be made by the liquidator under s 588FF(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) in relation to the matters contemplated by s 588FE of that Act
Judge: Greenwood J
- 14 May 2021:
Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Bettles (No 2)  FCA 516
CORPORATIONS - consideration, on the papers in light of written submissions, of the disposition of the costs reserved by orders made on 28 October 2020
Judge: Greenwood J
- 14 May 2021:
Nipps (Administrator) v Remagen Lend ADA Pty Ltd, in the matter of Adaman Resources Pty Ltd (Administrators Appointed)  FCA 520
CORPORATIONS - administrators - where group of companies - where issues raised as to validity of resolution to appoint administrators to two companies in the group - where appointment to five other subsidiary companies not challenged - where administrators sought relief under s 447A of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) with respect to their…
Judge: Banks-smith J
- 13 May 2021:
Comcare v Dunkerley  FCA 495
BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - creditor's petition for a sequestration order - where respondent debtor opposed creditor's petition and making of a sequestration order - whether a debt due in truth and reality - whether to 'go behind' a judgment - sequestration order made
Judge: Abraham J
- 13 May 2021:
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Telstra Corporation Limited  FCA 502
CONSUMER LAW - admitted contraventions of s 21 of Australian Consumer Law - whether agreed pecuniary penalty appropriate having regard to all relevant circumstances - consideration of relevant matters in determining amount of pecuniary penalty - declaratory relief and penalties awarded in terms sought by parties pursuant to s 244 of the ACL
Judge: Mortimer J
- 13 May 2021:
Rohrt, in the matter of Rose Guerin and Partners Pty Ltd (in liq) v Princes Square W24NY Pty Ltd  FCA 483
CORPORATIONS - application for declarations as to ownership of vehicle - vehicle subject to finance from third party intervener - company defaults under finance agreement - company in liquidation - liquidator purported to disclaim vehicle under s 568(1)(d) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) - liquidator obtains warrant to seize property of the…
Judge: Anderson J
- 12 May 2021:
Rathner (liquidator), in the matter of Garrows Close Pty Ltd (in liq)  FCA 505
CORPORATIONS - bare trustee - insolvency of corporate trustee - winding up of trust - necessary powers - s 63 of Trustee Act 1958 (Vic) - power of sale - orders and directions - s 90-15 of Schedule 2 (Insolvency Practice Schedule (Corporations)) to Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) - analogous application of Parts 5.5 and 5.6 to application and…
Judge: Beach J
- 12 May 2021:
Hillier v Martin (No 2)  FCA 509
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application for disqualification on grounds of apprehended bias - presiding judge having access to extraneous materials - extraneous materials subject to a claim of legal professional privilege of a non-party - extraneous materials said to be directly relevant to facts to be determined in the proceedings and otherwise…
Judge: Charlesworth J
- 12 May 2021:
Chopsonion Pty Ltd (Controllers Appointed) v Watts Meat Machinery Pty Ltd  FCA 491
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE -- application for summary judgment or dismissal of proceeding -- whether applicant has standing to bring proceeding -- whether applicant is proper party to bring causes of action alleged in statement of claim -- whether respondents have a valid defence to applicant's claims -- whether respondents entitled to summary…
Judge: Besanko J
- 11 May 2021:
86 400 Holdings Ltd, in the matter of 86 400 Holdings Ltd (No 2)  FCA 524
CORPORATIONS - members' scheme of arrangement - second court hearing - approval of scheme - approval granted
Judge: Anderson J
Latest Speeches & Papers
- 4 Mar 2021:
Courts, confidences and change in challenging circumstances
Delivered at the Quayside Chambers Oration, Perth Concert Hall, by Justice Banks-Smith.
- 12 Nov 2019:
Statutes and Equity
Paper presented at the Kenneth Sutton Lecture, by Chief Justice Allsop.
- 30 Oct 2019:
AILA National Conference 2019 - Opening Address
Presented at the AILA National Conference, Hobart, by Chief Justice Allsop.
- 19 Oct 2019:
Assessing the future: The challenge of running competition cases
Presented by Justice Middleton at the 17th Annual Competition Law and Economics Workshop, 'Competition law: The penicillin of public policy?'
- 26 Sep 2019:
The intersection of companies and trusts
Paper presented at the Harold Ford Memorial Lecture, by Chief Justice Allsop.
- 11 Jul 2019:
An Australian international commercial court - Not a bad idea or what a bad idea?
Presented at the Australian Bar Association’s Convergence 2019 Conference by Justice Colvin.
- 28 Jun 2019:
Case management & insolvency: matching rhetoric & reality
Justice Lee details the development of active case management in both Australia and overseas and discusses how the increased emphasis placed on the use of referees and referee reports as a ‘case management tool’ identifies a need for insolvency
- 1 Nov 2018:
Opening address at the AILA National Conference
Presented at the AILA National Conference in Perth by Chief Justice Allsop.
- 15 Oct 2018:
The role of law in international commercial arbitration
Paper presented at the CIArb Inaugural Annual Lecture, Melbourne, by Chief Justice Allsop.
- 30 Aug 2018:
The judicialisation of values
Paper presented at the LCA/FCA Joint Competition Law Conference, Sydney, by Chief Justice Allsop.
- 16 Sep 2014: National Commercial Law Seminar: Commercial transactions in an insolvency context
- 07 May 2014: Things every commercial lawyer should know about judicial review - a panel discussion
- 18 Mar 2014: Personal Property Securities Act: beyond the transitional period
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Important note: This information is procedural advice only. You should seek your own legal advice about legal cases and procedure in the Federal Court and in this area of law.