This edition of Australian Civil Procedure continues the approach of previous editions in examining the fundamental principles of Australian civil justice system. Procedural law is more than a set of isolated mechanical procedures. Civil procedure and its associated processes are the means of delivering the rights and remedies that the substantive law mandates. The court must, however, exercise its procedural powers to further the civil justice overarching objective, that is, it must conduct civil litigation to achieve a just result but through efficient and cost-effective processes. All Australian jurisdictions embrace a civil justice overarching objective and have accompanying rules of court and practice directions to guide the court and the parties in conducting a civil case.
Apart from statutory enactments, the primary sources of Australian procedural law are rules of court and, with increasing importance, court practice directions. The powers the rules and practice directions create and the functions they confer are mostly, but not completely, discretionary. Those discretions are exercisable in the context of, and for the purpose of for which they were created. This edition continues the approach of previous editions in examining the fundamental principles of law that develop from the manner in which the court exercises its procedural powers.