The Civil Procedure Act 2010 (Vic) came into operation on 1 January 2011. The “overarching purpose” of the Act is the” just, efficient, timely and cost-effective resolution of disputes”. The Act provides that courts are to give effect to this purpose in interpreting and exercising their powers and functions in the conduct of civil proceedings. The Act creates “overarching obligations”, applying to all parties, lawyers, insurers, funders and expert witnesses, including:
- acting honestly at all times (section 17);
- only pursuing claims and defences that have a proper basis, on the factual and legal material available at the time (section 18);
- only taking steps reasonably believed to be necessary to resolve the dispute (section 19);
- co-operating with other parties (section 20);
- not misleading or deceiving (section 21);
- using reasonable endeavours to resolve a dispute by agreement (section 22) or narrowing issues (section 23);
- using reasonable endeavours to ensure costs are reasonable and proportionate to the complexity or importance of the issues, and the amount in dispute (section 24).