The County Court of Victoria has announced that it proposes to implement Judicial Settlement Conferences in serious injury cases from 2012. Two pilot programmes of these conferences have been conducted by the Court with mixed results. Adviceline Injury Lawyers have participated in both pilots and are keen for Serious Injury cases to be settled without the need to go to Court wherever possible.
These conferences are informal, but held in a court room with the assistance of a County Court Judge. The Judge encourages the parties to discuss all issues in the case to see whether it can be resolved. Early resolution of as many cases as possible will free up the Court to hear cases that must be determined by a Judge. At the moment there is significant delay in getting a date for Serious Injury Applications to be heard so it is hoped that these conferences will reduce the delay.
The Court intends to arrange Judicial Settlement Conferences in about 60% of matters within 120 days of the case being issued.