Australia: Civil Dispute Resolution Bill Introduced

Those is Australia and beyond might find this interesting. This bill was introduced into Parliment July 16th as method to promote ADR services instead of litigation.

From the article (which gives some great information, I suggest reading it

The Bill implements recommendations by the National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council following its recent inquiry into the use of alternative dispute resolution in the civil justice system administered federally. Those recommendations seek to address a number of perceived inefficiencies

The explanatory memorandum states that the bill aims to:

* change the adversarial culture often associated with disputes;

* have people turn their minds to resolution before becoming entrenched in a litigious position, and

*where a dispute cannot be resolved, ensure that issues are properly identified, reducing the time required for a court to determine the matter.

Implications for Australian Government agencies
...If the Bill is passed, Australian Government agencies (and their external lawyers) will need to carefully implement an additional process in order to ensure that methods other than litigation have been fully considered before commencing proceedings.

What proceedings does the Bill apply to?
The Bill applies to proceedings commenced in the Federal Court or the Federal Magistrates Court. There are however a number of exceptions which are listed at clauses 15 and 16 of the Bill, the main ones being:...

What does the Bill require the parties to do?
At the time of commencing proceedings in the Federal Court or Federal Magistrates Court, an applicant is required to file a statement with the Court which sets out the "genuine steps" that the applicant has taken in an attempt to resolve the dispute (called a "genuine steps statement") or, if no such steps have been taken, the reasons why.
The respondent must also file a "genuine steps statement" in response to the applicant's statement...

How can the court use the "genuine steps statement"?
The Bill provides that the court may have regard to the fact of filing or not filing a "genuine steps statement" and to whether the parties took genuine steps to resolve the dispute in performing its functions or exercising its powers in relation to the proceedings...
Consequences of non-compliance

The Bill does not allow the Court to prevent commencement of the proceedings because of non-compliance with the requirement to file a "genuine steps statement." However, it does give the court the right to take the failure to file one into account in making costs orders....

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