Directions vs call-over hearing

Have you ever engaged in court proceedings and heard the terms call-over hearing and directions hearing being used by judges and solicitors? Legal Kitz can provide you with clarity regarding the difference between call-over and directions hearings, and how to prepare for one. Read on to find out more.

What is a call-over hearing?

In Queensland, a call-over hearing is a final review of the case at hand, commonly held a few weeks before the final hearing. It is an administrative court procedure involving several cases being listed before a judge or registrar and each being given a chance to advise the court of the progress of the case.  

During the call-over hearing process, the names of the parties involved in the matter are called and they are then able to directly address the judge or registrar. The judge or registrar will allocate the fixed hearing dates for the cases that are both due to be heard in a particular environment, and have satisfied the court during pre-call-over hearing review that the case can proceed. 

Parties should have a clear understanding of any evidential matters that require further work so they can tell the court whether the matter is prepared for a final hearing. An example of this is if parties are waiting on the preparation of a family report in a parenting matter because they are not prepared to proceed to a final hearing. This call-over hearing is integral as the court will allocate matters to a final hearing date once evidence is fully prepared. 

A call-over hearing is a final review of a case.

What is a directions hearing?

The court issues a directions order that outlines the steps that the parties must take and the time frames that they can do this in. A draft order will be agreed between the parties and handed to the judge. These orders will often include a dispute resolution plan, which may be a “without prejudice” conference chaired by the ADR Register or other types of dispute resolution. In the first instance, the judge or registrar will usually direct the parties to try to resolve the matter by mediation to save time, money and stress. 

What types of orders might be made by the court?

The court may make several types of orders relating to the progress of the case in the court system during a directions hearing. This may include when each party must file any further pleadings or provide evidence and additional documents. 

What if mediation fails?

If mediation is unsuccessful or one of the parties is non-compliant with the direction of the matter, the matter will apply to the court for another. If this occurs, the court will have a “short minute of orders” which outlines the steps for each party to take before the case is back in court. This is for the purpose of reducing legal fees and time involved in the legal proceedings. 

What is in the short minutes of orders?

The short minutes of orders is a numbered list including the following information:

  • When and how the parties can attend further mediation; 
  • When the case will be back in court for another directions hearing; 
  • Serving and filing points of claim or Statement of Claim;
  • Serving and filing evidence;
  • The making of admissions;
  • The filing of a list of documents and the supply of those documents to all other parties in proceedings; 
  • A timetable for the exchange of expert reports;
  • How evidence will be presented – either by affidavit, in person in court, or whether to use a telephone or video conferencing; and
  • A date for a further directions hearing. 

How do I prepare for a directions hearing?

At a directions hearing, you should know: 

  1. Your Case. You should be able to provide the judge with a summary of the nature of your case and your position. 
  2. The compensation you’re after. You should be able to tell the judge whether your compensation is predetermined, agreed on or has not been agreed to before the hearing. 
  3. What you want to do next. Write down your next steps of action or write down a timetable to present to the court. 
  4. Relevant rules and procedures. Different courts have varying processes, and you should do your research before attending court. You should also research obligations and procedures. 
  5. How you want proceedings to go. Communicate with the other party so that you are on the same page as to how you would like the proceedings to run. 

Engaging legal help 

Going to court can be intimidating and you must be as prepared as possible to create your case. You must be across the case’s structure, what you would like to receive from the opposite party and the steps to get there, whilst also obeying court procedure and protocol. 

To ensure that you are in a position to represent your case, your legal representative will need to be supplied with all the information, specific instructions and documentation that is relevant to your case. It is important that you and your legal representative discuss what orders you wish to seek. 

If you require further assistance with call-over hearing or directions hearings, Legal Kitz can direct you with your next step. Our Legal Kitz business specialists can assist with ensuring that your concerns are addressed, and can provide you with advice that is tailored to your situation. You can book a free 30-minute consultation via our website.

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