Court proceedings – making progress

While the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (UCPR) aim for a quick and speedy resolution of civil cases, this does not always happen for a variety of reasons.

This factsheet is designed to outline some of the procedures under the UCPR that you may be able to use to progress a matter.

If your matter is on the Supervised Case List or the Caseflow Management List, then your matter will be subject to regular hearings and to directions to progress it. See our factsheet Court supervision of cases for more information.

Otherwise, there are a number of other options that you might like to consider:

  1. If the other party has not complied with a particular step, you can send a rule 444 letter.
  2. If the matter is ready for trial, you can send a request for trial date.

Rule 444 letters

You use a rule 444 letter if:

  • You are seeking further and better particulars of a pleading under rule 161;
  • You want to seek directions from the court for the progression of the matter under Chapter 10 Part 1 of the UCPR;
  • The other party has not been complying with the UCPR and you want to seek orders to deal with that non-compliance under Chapter 10 Part 2 of the UCPR; or
  • The other party has not complied with an order or direction of the court.

For example, you could use a rule 444 letter if:

  1. The other party has not given you their list of documents, and the pleadings have closed;
  2. The other party has not returned a request for trial date; or
  3. The other party is in breach of a court order.

Writing a rule 444 letter

Below is a template of a rule 444 letter:

Dear [insert name]
[Case name]
Court File No.
This letter is written pursuant to Rule 444 and Chapter 11, Part 8 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld) (UCPR).
Relevant facts
[Chronological outline of facts relevant to proposed application.]
[PARTY NAME’S] Complaint
[Refer to rules, order not complied with.]
Intended relief
[Relief intended to be sought if the problem is not rectified. It should be the same as the orders that will be sought in the application to be filed. Eg: That the Plaintiff provide a list of documents within fourteen days; or that the Defence be struck out and the Defendent file an Amended Defence within twenty-one days.]
Why the [PARTY NAME] should have the relief
[Set out why you are entitled to relief if the complaint not rectified. Eg: Rule 162(1)(a) of the UCPR empowers the court to strike out a particular if it has a tendency to prejudice or delay a fair trial of the proceeding; or Rule 5 of the UCPR provides that the parties undertake to the court to proceed expeditiously and without delay to progress a proceeding.]
Time for a response
[At least 3 business days after date of the letter.]

Under the UCPR you can allow as little as three business days for the other party to respond, although allowing a lengthier period of two weeks can be better.

By the end of that period, you should have received a Rule 444 letter from the other party, either complying with the issue that you identified, or explaining why they believe that you are not entitled to the relief.

If you do not agree with the rule 444 letter, you can then bring an application to the court.

Completing your application documents

You will find the court forms on the courts website.

You will need a Form 9 Application, which should reflect the “relief sought” that you outlined in your rule 444 letter, and an affidavit (Form 46).

To this affidavit, you should exhibit a copy of your rule 444 letter and of the other party’s response.

When you file your documents, the court will give you a hearing date.