Family Court of Western Australia

Procedural/Directions Hearing

A Procedural Hearing is the first Court event in property and financial order cases.

The purpose of the procedural hearing is to identify the key issues in your case and determine the best way to proceed. The Judicial Officer will make procedural orders so your case can proceed to the next stage.

What will happen at the hearing?

At the procedural hearing the Judicial Officer will discuss:

  • the orders and issues in dispute, including:
    • assessing whether are they clearly defined
    • whether you have already resolved any issues
  • the dispute resolution you have already undertaken
  • compliance with the pre-action procedures, including making sure that parties have complied with their duty of disclosure
  • whether there any other parties to the case, other than you and your former partner.

You or your lawyer will need to be able to answer questions on these topics. If you are not legally represented, you can still seek legal advice to understand the orders and issues in your dispute.

Orders that may be made

The Judicial Officer will make procedural orders which can include:

  • orders to produce specific documents for inspection and copying by the other party before the conciliation conference
  • orders to obtain the value of any asset the value of which is in dispute
  • orders allowing a party to obtain an expert’s report
  • orders for a party to serve notice of the case on someone whose interests are affected by the case.
  • allocating your case for a conciliation conference.

If the parties reach an agreement the Judicial Officer can make orders based on it.

How do I prepare for the procedural hearing?

The parties are expected to have served and filed all the necessary documents, and the procedural hearing will not go ahead if the parties have not complied. The Court will relist the matter for another date and may make costs orders.

Make sure you have complied with the duty of disclosure and have provided all relevant documents to the other party. If you have not already done so, you have until two days before the Procedural Hearing to exchange any documents you have not already disclosed during the pre-action procedures.

Attending the hearing

You (and your legal representative) are required to attend the procedural hearing.

If you or the other party do not attend the procedural hearing, the Court may:

  • dismiss the application
  • order the application be decided in the absence of one of the parties
  • adjourn the application to allow the applicant to file affidavit evidence
  • make any other order necessary, including orders for costs.

If you can't attend the hearing in person, you should request to attend by phone.

Next steps

The procedural hearing is an opportunity for you to try and negotiate a solution with the other party. If you reach an agreement the Judicial Officer can make consent orders.

If no agreement is reached, your case will be usually listed for a conciliation conference. You will have to follow the orders the Judicial Officer makes.

Last updated: 27-Sep-2023

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