7.1 This chapter considers whether increased judicial case management would help control discovery in federal litigation. First, it considers whether the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) should be amended to prescribe in detail the Court’s broad case management powers in relation to discovery. Arguably, this would serve to ensure that the Court, parties and practitioners remain aware of the Court’s extensive powers to control discovery. The ALRC sees considerable potential benefit, and little harm, in this reform. However, in light of the limited support the proposal received and the limited evidence that it would have the intended effect, no such recommendation is made.

7.2 The Court has extensive case management powers. Encouraging the judiciary to take a more robust approach to its existing powers to control discovery is the focus of the second half of this chapter. The ALRC recommends that the Federal Court and judicial education bodies develop and maintain a continuing judicial education and training program specifically dealing with case management of the discovery process. The ALRC recommends that this program consider the appropriate and targeted use of the tools—such as discovery plans—that are considered throughout this Report. Training in methods of discovering electronically-stored information (ESI) is singled out as being particularly needed.