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What is a Summary Judgment?

What is a Summary Judgment?

A summary judgment is a judgment issued against one party without a trial taking place. Find out here when a summary judgment may be issued.

28th January 2020
Reading Time: 3 minutes

A summary judgment is essentially a court application that can be granted during litigation. Whilst this application may be issued in your favour, you must understand what a summary judgment is and when to apply for one. To best understand how their use may benefit you, here are some key points you need to know before applying for one.

What is a Summary Judgment?

When a party has no prospect of successfully prosecuting or defending a claim, a summary judgment can be issued. . In short, if you do not have reasonable prospect of being able to raise valid points of allegation or defence, this will be applicable to you.

However, you must be aware that the courts will only grant this particular court application under special circumstances.

When should you apply for a Summary Judgment?

Subject to Regulation 13.1 of Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW), there are two main criteria’s that must be satisfied:

  1. There must be evidence of facts which can support a claim for summary judgment; and
  2. A reasonable belief that the other party does not have a defence to the claim that you made; or
  3. You can show that there are no more legal issues to be contended if the application is rebutted from the other party.

What does “Reasonable Prospect/Belief” mean?

You must understand what reasonable prospect or belief will mean for you in order to be granted a successful application. A reasonable belief that the other party will not have a defence to claim that you make involves you to engage with the available material in the proceedings to physically show to the courts that any defence that will be made by the other party will ultimately fail. Thus, it must be made clear that the potential defences will be futile. This is often a complex task to embark on your own. You should consult a lawyer to ensure that you have all the information necessary for a successful application.

Will you be able to rely on Summary Judgments in all Legal Situations?

Whilst a summary judgment application may sound enticing to cut further legal costs, it is important to note that there are circumstances where you will not be able to apply for one. There are 4 situations where you will not be able to rely on a summary judgment:

  • Fraudulent behaviour
  • Defamation
  • Malicious prosecution
  • False Imprisonment

Therefore, we recommend you to search the Lawyer Marketplace in order to find the perfect lawyer for your legal needs.

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Final Thoughts

In conclusion, summary judgments reduce further legal costs in proceedings and can be used as a final decision. But, the ability to apply for summary judgments is dependent on the legal situation. Thus, applying for a summary judgment without proper consultation can be risky. It is crucial that a summary judgment is made in confidence and absolute clarity of the legal consequences that will follow.

Don’t know where to start? Contact us on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest lawyer marketplace.

Cecilia Tran

Cecilia is a final year law student completing her Practical Legal Training at Lawpath. She has an avid interest in intellectual property.