Flashcards in U3 AOS2: The reasons for a Victorian court hierarchy (Civil) Deck (8)
If there are grounds for appeal, a party who is dissatisfied with the decision in a civil trial can take the matter to a higher court to challenge the decision that a party believes has an error. The system of appeals allows for fairness and allows for any mistakes made in the original decision to be corrected.
If there were no higher courts there could be no system of appeals which could create unfairness if a court incorrectly determines a case.
Courts as Dispute Resolution Bodies
In determining whether a court is an appropriate dispute resolution body for a particular type of dispute these considerations must be made.
- Whether the dispute falls within the courts jurisdiction.
- Whether there are other / better ways to resolve the dispute
The courts 2 main powers
To order parties to mediation
- A judge / magistrate has the power to make an order referring a civil proceeding, or a part of a civil proceeding to mediation ( Section 66 Civil Procedure Act)
The court can order a court officer (associate judge) act as a mediator or for parties to arrange privately (any time / stage)
Power to give direction
- Civil Procedure Act states that the court may give any direction or any order it considers appropriate at any stage of the proceeding. Judges can therefore actively manage civil proceedings.
They can also giver directions before or during the trial. Sanctions can be imposed on a party who fails to complete with a direction of the court
Directions during the trial
- Order in which evidence is presented
- Limiting length / duration of parties submission
Directions before the trial
- Conduct of proceedings
- Timetables / timelines for steps undertaken
County and Supreme courts of VIC have unlimited jurisdiction to hear civil disputes. VCAT has exclusive jurisdiction (domestic building, planning, retail tenancies) disputes.
Strengths of the courts
Allows parties to see strengths / weaknesses of opposing: Pretrial procedures, decide to admit facts, must be disclosed in documents early
The court seeks procedural fairness: Judge can give direction if wishes to ensure resolution in fast, efficient, timely manner
The outcome is certain: Courts make a binding decision during trial (enforceable) This allows for certainty of outcome. (Parties may appeal)