2 Nov 2009

New rules aim to simplify civil dispute resolution

6:41 am on 2 November 2009

New rules aimed at resolving civil disputes more quickly and at a lower cost are being introduced on Monday.

Chief District Court Judge Russell Johnson says just 3% of civil cases have made it to a defended hearing because of time and cost.

The judge says an increasing number of litigants are trying to do the work themselves without a lawyer, but struggle with the process.

The rules will make civil justice more accessible for ordinary people, he says. They are written in plain language and the paperwork can be downloaded from the internet.

Judge Johnson says the idea is to get parties to a settlement conference within two months, with a trial a last option.