Family Court of Western Australia

Readiness Hearing

The readiness hearing is a procedural hearing to make sure your case is ready for trial. You will be given notice of the date of your readiness hearing at least two months prior. Readiness hearings are conducted by the managing magistrate or a registrar.

You must attend your Readiness Hearing unless your lawyer attends or the Judicial Officer has given you permission not to attend.

A readiness hearing is not an opportunity to negotiate, and the judicial officer will not assist in settlement discussions at this hearing. However, if the parties arrive at the readiness hearing with an agreement, the judicial officer can make orders by consent.

All trial documents should have been filed and each party should have filed a written notice confirming that they have complied with the duty of disclosure.

How to prepare for the readiness hearing

At previous court appearances, the judicial officer would have made procedural orders telling you what you need to do prior to your readiness hearing. Generally, the procedural orders will provide a timetable for the:

  • filing and service of trial affidavits and other documents
  • payment of the setting down and hearing fees

You will need to make sure that you have complied with those orders, it is very important that you understand your duty of disclosure.

At least seven days before the readiness hearing (unless earlier directions state otherwise), each party must file and serve an Undertaking as to Disclosure (with a list of the documents disclosed attached), confirming that they have complied with their duty of disclosure.

At the readiness hearing you should be prepared to answer questions about:

  • the main issues of fact or law relevant to your case.
  • whether you propose amending your application or response.
  • whether you have complied with all previous orders, including in relation to the filing of your documents for trial.
  • how many witnesses will be needed at trial, and which of the other party’s witnesses you intend to cross-examine.
  • the likely length of the trial.
  • whether interpreters are required for the trial.
  • whether telephone or video link facilities will be required.
  • whether a bring-up order is required for a witness who is in prison.

Failure to file documents

If one party has failed to file their documents in time, the judicial officer may still place the matter into the callover for a trial date to ensure that the party who has complied will not be prejudiced. Alternatively, the Court may consider orders striking out the defaulting party’s application and giving the other party permission to proceed with the case as if it is undefended.

If both parties have failed to file their documents by the readiness hearing, the case may be sent to the duty judge or duty magistrate, who may make further procedural orders dismissing the case.

Next steps

The Judicial Officer will decide whether the matter is ready and if the parties have filed all their documents. The next step depends on the expected length of your trial.

Cases that are expected to run for two days or less will normally be heard by the managing magistrate. The trial date will be set at the readiness hearing.

If your trial is not being heard by the managing magistrate, then the next step is a callover, where a trial date will be set. You will need to file a Callover Certificate (Form NP12) before the callover.

You will need to attend the next court event, and comply with any procedural orders made, such as to file further documents in preparation for trial, including the Papers for the Judicial Officer.

Last updated: 1-May-2019

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