People out of time to seek taxation in Victoria customarily file and serve a summons for taxation in the Costs Court, within the Trial Division of the Supreme Court of Victoria. A Judicial Registrar of that Court then refers the exension of time question to the Practice Court, again within the Trial Division, where it is heard by a Judge of the Court (as opposed to an Associate Judge or some other decision maker within the Court).
In my experience, such applications are not necessarily able to be accommodated in the business of the Practice Court, and more difficult ones end up being listed for trial as a cause, months away. Also in my experience, Judges of the Court are unimpressed to be bothered with such a trivial application. If there were a way for such applications to be listed before Associate Justices (especially an Associate Justice who is a Costs Judge) that would be good because (a) the time of Judges of the Court would not be taken up by these applications; (b) the applications would get heard much more quickly and (c) Costs Judges may be expected to be appropriate people to adjudicate these kinds of applications efficiently, consistently and therefore predictably.
One Supreme Court judge has already suggested that Associate Judges could hear these applications, but I am not aware of any such application having been determined by an Associate Judge. In this post I explore the none too simple statutory provisions which are germane to the question. It seems to me that there would have to be a referral to an Associate Judge by a Judge of the Court under r. 77.05 in order for an Associate Judge to be able to hear a s. 198(4) application.
But it also seems to me that the Court could arrive at a standard procedure for these kinds of applications which could be specified in the Practice Note for the Costs Court. Then r. 77.05 referrals could be made without a hearing on the papers as a matter of course. Better still, the judges of the Court could add s. 198(4) applications to the list in r. 77.01 of matters ordinarily to be heard by Associate Judges. Even better would be for the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2015 to be amended so as to nominate the Costs Court as the designated tribunal for applications to extend time. Continue reading “Who can hear an application to extend time for taxation?”