The Land and Environment Court has issued the new Practice Note to increase the speed and efficiency of proceedings. It also shows that the Court wants to ensure that parties engage in conciliation conferences with the genuine purpose of reaching an agreement.
The key changes in the new Practice Note are the:
- incorporation of the Court’s policy on agent’s obligations when appearing on behalf of another
- expansion of the directions that can be sought through the Online Court
- widening of the Court’s power to order costs
- introduction of stricter requirements for a s 34AA conciliation conference and hearing
- Amended plans must be presented 14 days before the conference date
- Response to amended plans by Respondent and drafts of conditions of consent must be provided 7 days prior to the conference date
- Expert evidence at a s 34AA conference and hearing is no longer allowed as an automatic right
These changes require that both parties are prepared for conciliation conferences and hearings, and that they, or their agents, have the power and intention to genuinely negotiate.