Announcement - Change to Industrial Relations Commission Rules – Re-issued and new Practice Notes

29 January 2010

As earlier advised from 1st February 2010 the Commission (including the Court) will be transitioning to the Uniform Civil Procedure regime that currently operates in the Supreme, Land and Environment, District and Local Courts.

The Commission has re-issued practice directions as Practice Notes under section 185A of the Industrial Relations Act 1996 and/or section 15 of the Civil Procedure Act 2005 and they will have effect from 1 February 2010 .

Information in relation to re-issued Practice Notes:

Practice Notes that have re-issued have not substantially changed – they have been reviewed to ensure that references therein remain current having regard to the adoption of the new Rules regime and, in a number of limited circumstances, to take into account alteration to practice notes in other jurisdictions upon which the Commission draws to supplement procedures available.

Two new Practice Notes.

Two new Practice Notes have been developed and will take effect from Monday 1 February 2010.

Practice Note No. 20 – Criminal Prosecutions

This practice note replaces Practice Direction No. 12 issued in November 2003. The significant features of this practice note are:

    Streaming
    The Court has decided to have two different streams for case managing criminal proceedings. This decision was made to enable the Court to more readily identify and deal with prosecutions that will come to the Court with the transfer of the Chief Industrial Magistrates (CIM) jurisdiction later this year.

    The Court is not expecting that streaming will have a significant impact on the way WorkCover files process - as a matter of policy the more serious offences (ie those involving death or serious injury) have been filed with this Court, so they should continue to be identified as Stream 1 matters by the prosecutor; and all other matters as Stream 2.

    The other reason for streaming has to do with fees and costs - this Court, as a superior court of record, has a fee structure similar to that of the Supreme Court and it is proposed that the Court’s fee regulation will be amended when the CIM jurisdiction comes across to specify similar fees to those that currently apply in the CIM court for Stream 2 matters. Similarly with costs.

    Case Conferencing
    The new Practice Note establishes a Case Conferencing Procedure, the aim of which is to encourage early appropriate pleas of guilty by the submission of any representations, requests or proposals in relation to the charges, particulars and the Prosecutor’s Statement of Facts at an early stage of the proceedings (clauses 9-13). Click here for a copy of the Case Conferencing Protocol .

    Stricter Time Standards
    The period from issue to first listing has been reduced. The experience of the Court to date has been that the greater the time allowed to the parties between issue and first listing, the more time the parties appear to require. From 1 February, upon the issue of an Order, a matter will be given a call-over date within four weeks of the date of issue. There is an expectation that all parties will do their utmost to comply with time standards set out in the Practice Note.

    Adoption of Uniform Civil Procedure Rules for certain aspects of criminal proceedings.
    The practice note adopts the provisions of UCPR Part 1.11 (Time), Part 18 (Motions) and Part 33 (Summons) in relation to criminal proceedings before the Industrial Court. The Practice Note also details requirements in relation to the preparation of affidavits in criminal proceedings.
Practice Note No. 21 – Disclosure of Experts Reports and Medical and Hospital Reports

This Practice Note substantially adopts the procedure that was previously available under Rules 187 – 189 of the Industrial Relations Commission Rules 1996.

Click here to go to a full list of the Commission’s Practice Notes .

Industrial Registrar
29 January 2010