Why are summary judgements special?

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A summary judgement is a legal term used in court proceedings. So what does it mean, and when should a party apply for a summary judgement? This Business Kitz article will answer your questions. 

What is a summary judgement? 

A summary judgement occurs when a party in a court of law cannot provide a reasonable prospect of succeeding, which allows the court to give judgement against that party without having to go through the formal trial process. This process is the same for both plaintiffs and defendants. Summary judgements provide an opportunity for parties to end their court proceedings early to avoid further use of time and resources in a trial. 

When should a party apply for a summary judgement? 

According to Rule 292 of Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (QLD), the main criteria that must be met includes:

  • That the defendant has no real prospect of success with the case, and there is no need for trial; or
  • That the plaintiff has no real prospect of success with all or part of their claim, and there is no need for trial. 

Is there a situation in which a party will not be able to apply?

A summary judgement may sound like a good idea to reduce further costs and resources, however, there are situations where a party will not be able to apply for a summary judgement. These situations include instances of: 

  • Fraudulent behaviour;
  • Defamation;
  • Malicious prosecution; and 
  • False imprisonment. 

What does “reasonable prospect/belief” mean? 

Reasonable prospect or belief involves using and engaging with the available materials in the proceedings to show the court that the other party’s claims or defence will ultimately fail. This is obviously a difficult task to accomplish on your own, so you should consult with our sister company, Legal Kitz to ensure you have the best chance of success in a summary judgement application. 

Can I lodge an application straight away? 

Before you make an application for a summary of judgement, it is recommended that you consult with the other party and try to resolve the matters regarding the application. In the instance that you cannot resolve matters beforehand, you may make the application.

Legal advice

A summary judgement occurs when there is reasonable belief that the other party in a court of law will not be able to succeed with their claim/defence, to which the court can give judgement without having to go through the formal trial process. These judgements are a great way to reduce extra time and resources that go into fighting a court case. Although the benefits are great, there is difficulty in attaining a judgement as ‘reasonable belief’ is difficult to prove. This is why you should consult with Legal Kitz to discuss your options and strategies for your summary judgement applications. Book here now for a FREE 30-minute consultation with our highly experienced and qualified team.