Civil litigation is more frequently giving rise to cases that are regarded as complex so that they are expensive for parties to run, time-consuming and use a large amount of tax-payer funded court resources. The government, judiciary and legal practitioners have expressed concern as to how to efficiently manage these cases.
This book examines the case management tools available to the modern day judge for dealing with crucial aspects of complex civil litigation. The first chapter explains case management, complex civil litigation and how the former may be used to control the latter. Subsequent chapters focus on case management in relation to pleadings, discovery, expert evidence, alternative dispute resolution, summary judgment and the separate question procedure.
The author also explains the role of the overriding/overarching purpose with its command that civil litigation is to be conducted in a manner which achieves justice while minimising cost and delay as this has major significance for complex cases.
Latter chapters consider two specific examples of complex litigation and the ways in which they may be dealt with – commercial litigation and the specialist lists that have developed to deal with this type of case in New South Wales, Victoria and in the Federal Court, and class action or representative proceedings in the Federal Court. Lastly, the concerns or limitations as to case management are examined.
Case Management and Complex Civil LitigationBalancing Justice, Cost and Delay – The Role of an Overriding/Overarching PurposeIssue Identification – Pleadings and AlternativesDiscovery in the Information AgeExpert EvidenceAlternative Dispute Resolution and Complex DisputesSummary Judgment and the Separate Question Procedure – The Short Way Home?A Comparison of the New South Wales Commercial List, the Victorian Commercial Court and the Federal Court’s Fast TrackCase Management of Class ActionsCan the Cure be Worse than the Disease? Concerns about Case ManagementAppendix 1: Examples of Complex Litigation in Australia Index
Complex civil litigation gives rise to a wide range of issues that demand systematic analysis and evaluation. Michael Legg’s book undertakes this task extremely skillfully. His examination of the procedural, managerial and policy questions raised by complex civil litigation and case management is thorough, penetrating and insightful. It is enriched by comparisons with the approaches to similar questions taken in other common law jurisdictions. The criticisms he offers of existing laws and practices demand close attention by policy-makers. Some may be tempted to see complex civil litigation as a topic that is and should remain more or less the exclusive province of judges and legal practitioners, subject perhaps to occasional interventions by law reform agencies. This book amply demonstrates – if demonstration be necessary – the great advantages of bringing a scholarly perspective to the subject. Mr Legg has combined wide-ranging legal scholarship, with a clear-eyed, practical appreciation of the challenges posed by complex civil litigation. Michael Legg has made a major contribution to a relatively new legal discipline. Since it is an important field that is developing rapidly, it is to be hoped that this is but the first of numerous editions.
Ronald Sackville AO QC, Acting Judge of Appeal, Supreme Court of NSW, From the Foreword