The Judicature (High Court Rules) Amendment Act 2008 enacted on 25 September 2008 comes into force on 1 February 2009.
Section 8 repealed Schedule 2 of the Judicature Act 1908 and substituted a new Schedule 2, with the effect that the previous High Court Rules are repealed and replaced with new rules as from 1 February.
The new rules do not change, to any great extent, the practice or processes prescribed under the previous rules, but they represent an improvement in structure and presentation and closely follow the content of the previous rules.
The organisation of the rules conforms to current drafting practices, and the structure and layout comprise a pattern of parts and subparts, the sequence of which follows the sequence of a standard High Court civil proceeding. The 900-plus previous rules have been replaced by 33 parts, with each part devoted to a particular topic and numbered sequentially within that part. The latter set of parts of the rules comprises special provisions on specific topics such as probate, insolvency, company liquidations, judicial review and admiralty.
Some features of the new rules are:
- They are restated in plain English.
- Latin expressions like "ex parte application" are replaced.
- Overly-long rules have been short-ened and reorganised to increase accessibility and understanding.
- Anomalies, for example, the confusing references to "days" in some rules but to "clear days" or " working days" in others, have been removed.
- Many technical terms are usefully retained, eg: "cause of action, probate, letters of administration".
- Out-dated words and expressions and unnecessary technical language have been eliminated; eg, "hereinafter" and "hereunto", "above-named", "propound", "jurat", "forenoon" as has all surviving sexist language – "him", "his defence".
- Simple definitions have been inserted wherever possible.
New forms have replaced the forms in the previous rules and they are grouped according to their subject matter as follows (and in this or
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