Family Court of Western Australia

PPP500 Trial before a Magistrate

If your case has been designated as a PPP500 case, at the Conciliation Conference the Registrar will have made orders and directions for your matter to proceed to a trial before a magistrate, or to be listed into the next callover, where you will be allocated a trial before a magistrate. The trial magistrate will then order you to attend a status hearing before themselves.

The status hearing is a procedural hearing to make sure your case is ready for trial.

You must attend your status hearing unless your lawyer attends, and you have complied with all of the orders made at the conciliation conference.

A status hearing is not an opportunity to negotiate, and the magistrate will not assist in settlement discussions at this hearing. However, if the parties arrive at the status hearing with an agreement, the magistrate can make orders by consent, including to finalise the case.

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

How to prepare for the status hearing

At the conciliation conference, the registrar would have made procedural orders telling you what you need to do prior to your trial. 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.

The registrar will have ordered you to file and serve an Undertaking as to Disclosure (with a list of the documents disclosed attached), confirming that you have complied with your duty of disclosure.

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

  • the main issues of fact or law relevant to your case.
  • whether you have complied with all previous orders, including in relation to the filing of your documents for trial.
  • compliance with all necessary interim or preparatory matters, including disclosure and inspection of disclosure documents.
  • whether any issues are agreed.
  • how many witnesses will be needed at trial, and which of the other party’s witnesses you intend to cross-examine.
  • Whether the likely length of the trial has changed.

Failure to file documents

If one party has failed to file their documents in time, the magistrate may consider orders striking out the defaulting party’s application and giving the other party permission to proceed with the case on an undefended basis.

If both parties have failed to file their documents by the status hearing, further procedural orders may be made dismissing the whole case.

Last updated: 27-Sep-2023

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