The Common Law Division has a broad jurisdiction that includes workplace, transport accident and medical negligence claims, and claims by a beneficiary under a will.
The Common Law Division of the County Court has unlimited monetary jurisdiction and hears cases concerning:
A significant number of matters heard in the division are applications seeking leave to commence a damages proceeding where there has been a workplace or transport accident. These are called ‘serious injury’ applications.
Each year over 3000 proceedings are issued in the division. More than 80% of those proceedings settle or are resolved before going to trial. This is, in part, because the Court requires the parties to undergo mediation or arbitration (including through the division’s Judicial Registrar) at least once and often several times over the life of the case. The rate of resolution is also due to co-operation and discussion between the parties, in particular the major insurers, Worksafe Victoria, the Transport Accident Commission and the plaintiffs’ practitioners.
When a case is issued in the Court, depending on the type of case it is, it will be listed for trial within 6 and 12 months. After a case is heard by a judge, a judgment will be provided to the parties promptly. Sixty per cent of judgments are provided within 30 days, and 90% within 90 days.
The Court is embracing the use of technology. Documents are now eFiled through the Court’s Civil Registry. Juries are being charged with the aid of PowerPoint presentations and digital skeletal applications are used to help them understand medical evidence. All 2017 and 2018 court files are now digital. The Court hopes, by the end of 2018, to be largely ‘paperless’.
His Honour Judge Misso is in charge of the Common Law Division.
Within the Common Law Division there are a number of Lists and specialist areas including:
Judges in these lists are experienced trial judges who actively case manage proceedings to ensure parties are prepared and ready for trial.
In addition to hearing matters in Melbourne, the Common Law Division of the County Court sits at nine circuit locations situated in major regional centres.
The practice notes for the Common Law Division can be accessed here.