Reading time: 2 minutes

Pre-action procedures, or pre-action protocols, or pre-action obligations (if we want to use all the popular terminology!) are rules and legislative instruments that set out the obligations of disputing parties to each other even before the originating process is filed. While not every state of Australia has a legislative instrument making these mandatory, they are still a good practice to adopt to resolve issues without judicial intervention and/ or to refine the issues in dispute (and therefore reduce the amount of time spent in court). The idea behind such obligations is to force parties to investigate the merits of their claim and/ or seek to resolve the matter as a precedent to commencing proceedings, which just makes sense if you think about it.

Understanding the law

Section 4 of the Civil Dispute Resolution Act (Cth) puts a positive onus on parties to take active steps to resolve disputes and/ or crystallise the issues in dispute without resorting to judicial intervention, which can include:

  • Providing certain documents;
  • Answering certain questions;
  • Participating in alternate dispute resolution procedures; and/ or
  • Any combination of the above.

Why pre-action procedures are important

Utilising these pre-action procedures to obtain information prior to rushing off to Court can be invaluable; it will help you determine the strength of your case and/ or negotiate a settlement. Your litigation lawyer will be able to assist by specifying what you can ask for, and how to ask for it if you wish to rely on these obligations.

Further, at least in the Federal jurisdiction, not abiding by them can have very real consequences for litigants.

In the courts, which exercise jurisdiction pursuant to the Family Law Act, by way of example, the rules regarding pre-action obligations, including in relation to provision of disclosure, materials are strictly enforced and a party may be denied the right to pursue a matter if not complied with, or suffer awards of costs being made in favour of the other party.


If you are party to a dispute and seek further information about your rights or obligations, you should talk to a litigation lawyer who will be able to guide you through the process. Get in touch with LegalVision on 1300 544 755 and you can get a fixed-fee quote for assistance.


Redundancies and Restructuring: Understanding Your Employer Obligations

Thursday 7 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

If you plan on making a role redundant, it is crucial that you understand your employer obligations. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Sponsor Foreign Workers For Your Tech Business

Wednesday 13 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Need web3 talent for your tech business? Consider sponsoring workers from overseas. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Advertising 101: Social Media, Influencers and the Law

Thursday 21 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how to promote your business on social media without breaking the law. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Structuring for Certainty in Uncertain Times

Tuesday 26 July | 12:00 - 12:45pm

Learn how to structure to weather storm and ensure you can take advantage of the “green shoots” opportunities arising on the other side of a recession.
Register Now

Playing for the Prize: How to Run Trade Promotions

Thursday 28 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Running a promotion with a prize? Your business has specific trade promotion obligations. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Web3 Essentials: Understanding SAFT Agreements

Tuesday 2 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how SAFT Agreements can help your Web3 business when raising capital. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

Understanding Your Annual Franchise Update Obligations

Wednesday 3 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Franchisors must meet annual reporting obligations each October. Understand your legal requirements by registering for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Legal Essentials for Product Manufacturers

Thursday 11 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

As a product manufacturer, do you know your legal obligations if there is a product recall? Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards