This Practice Note was professionally printed and distributed by the Executive Office - including to all Judges and Masters. The following letter accompanied the practice note.
20 December 1993
Differential Case Management - Common Law Division
I am writing to all metropolitan solicitors who conduct Common Law Division matters in Sydney.
The purpose of this letter is to inform you about a refinement of the Court's Common Law Division case management procedures and to let you know some of the background to the changes.
In mid 1988, due to increasing concern about delay, a Common Law Division Delay Reduction Committee was established. The Committee, chaired by Justice Wood, included nominees of the Bar Association and of the Law Society. In September 1988 the Committee produced a report which indicated that delay would soon be in the order of 10-12 years if nothing was done about the problem and recommended the introduction of a delay reduction programme to include the implementation of recognised case flow management principles.
At the commencement of the delay reduction programme in February 1989, there were 10,900 cases pending. As at the end of November 1993, that number has reduced to 4,500.
If the case management procedures implemented as part of the delay reduction programme had not been introduced, it is estimated that delay would now be at least 10-12 years, with a pending caseload of at least 20,000.
The Delay Reduction Committee has continuously monitored the delay reduction programme and, following further recommendations of the Committee, Practice Note No 68 was issued in August 1991. That Practice Note introduced active case management.
Although Practice Note No 68 procedures have been successful, it was recognised that it would be desirable to manage cases differentially having regard to matters such as urgency, simplicity, or complexity of cases. As well, the Committee recognised the desirability of commencing the supervision of cases at the earliest possible time after commencement in order to avoid unnecessary delay in preparation.
A refinement of Practice Note No 68 has been designed and will be known as Differential Case Management (DCM). DCM is introduced by Practice Note No 81 and will apply to cases commenced in the Common Law Division in Sydney on and after 31 January 1994.
I attach for your information a copy of Practice Note No 81 together with two information guides. The Practice Note and the information guides have been produced with the assistance of the Centre for Plain Legal Language.
Part 1 of the Practice Note should be found to be a helpful explanation of the principles of differential case management and also includes information about how the programme works.
An "Information Seminar" concerning Differential Case Management will be held on Tuesday, 1 February 1994 at 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm in the Banco Court, Level 13, Supreme Court. If you wish to attend please notify either Jan Nelson, the Public Information Officer, on 230 8190 or Jennifer Donaldson on 230 8220.