May 7, 2020

In civil litigation, trials are the ultimate end point. If parties are unable to come to some sort of resolution then the matter proceeds to Trial before a Judge who will decide the outcome of the case. Before a matter can be set down for trial, parties must serve, sign and file a Request for Trial Date. We answer some key questions about being served with a Request for Trial Date in personal injury claims below.

  1. What is a Request for Trial Date?

In Queensland, in order to have a civil matter set down for trial, parties must file a ‘Request for Trial Date’. So a ‘Request for Trial Date’ is essentially that, a formal request to the Court to have a matter set down for Trial.

  1. Who can serve a Request for Trial Date?

Any party to a litigated matter can serve a Request for Trial Date, provided they are ‘ready for trial’.[1]

  1. How do I know if I am ‘ready for trial’?

In personal injury claims, you have likely already certified that you are ‘ready for trial’ by signing a Certificate of Readiness, prior to proceeding to a Compulsory Conference. ‘Ready for trial’ is defined at rule 467 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld).

  1. Can I amend pleadings after signing and filing a Request for Trial Date?

It is important to note that once a Request for Trial Date is signed and filed, a party cannot amend pleadings, request particulars or make an application in the proceeding, without the Courts leave.[2] It is best practice to obtain an Advice on Evidence from Counsel and ensure that your pleadings are in order before signing and filing a Request for Trial Date.

  1. Once served, how long do I have to respond to a Request for Trial Date?

Once you have been served with a Request for Trial Date, you have 21 days to sign and return/file a Request for Trial Date.[3] There are limited instances where you may return a Request for Trial Date unsigned. In this instance, you must state the reason and preferably provide a timeframe as to when you expect to be in a position to sign the Request for Trial Date. It may be that the outstanding item can be inserted into part E of the Request for Trial Date and it can still be signed and filed.

  1. What happens if I do not respond within the stipulated timeframe?

If you do not respond within 21 days, the party that served the Request for Trial Date is within their rights to file an Application for dispensation of the other party’s signature, without further notice to you.[4] If they are forced to file an Application for dispensation of your signature on the Request for Trial Date, then they will undoubtedly also seek their costs of the Application.

  1. Who is responsible for filing a Request for Trial Date?

The party that originally served the Request for Trial Date is technically responsible for filing it.[5]

  1. Who is responsible for the fees associated with filing a Request for Trial Date?

The Plaintiff is responsible for paying the filing and setting down fees associated with filing a Request for Trial Date.[6]

  1. What fees are payable? What if I cannot afford them? 

At present, there is no fee to file a Request for Trial Date within the Magistrates Court. The amount due to the District and Supreme Court depends on the court, whether the party is an individual or company and the number of days the Trial is expected to run. The relevant fees typically increase at the beginning of each financial year.

If you are experiencing financial hardship or fall into a discrete category,[7] then you can apply to the Court to reduce or waive fees associated with filing a Request for Trial Date.[8]

  1. What happens if the matter doesn’t go to Trial? 

If a matter resolves prior to Trial, the party that paid the fees can apply for a partial refund. In order to be eligible, the party must complete and submit the Courts approved form to the Registry at least 10 business days prior to the first day of Trial. The Registrar will then refund 75% of the setting down and hearing fee.[9]

What do I do now?

If you’ve been served with or wish to serve a Request for Trial Date, have regard to the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld) and Uniform Civil Procedure (Fees) Regulation 2019 (Qld). Make sure to take note of the date that you were served and when it is due to be signed and filed. As soon as you are served with a Request for Trial Date, take action to ensure that you are in a position to sign by the end of the 21 days. It may be that that is not possible but if you do nothing and an Application is bought you may leave yourself wide open for a costs order against you.

Make sure that your Request for Trial Date is in the prescribed format. A copy of an example form is located on the Queensland Court website, which is accessible here.


[1] Rule 467 (1) Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld)

[2] Rule 470 Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld)

[3] Rule 469 Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld)

[4] Rule 469 Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld)

[5] Rule 467 (3) Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld)

[6] Section 4 (2) (a) Uniform Civil Procedure (Fees) Regulation 2019 (Qld)

[7] Sections 8, 9 and 10 of the Uniform Civil Procedure (Fees) Regulation 2019 (Qld)

[8] Section 7 of the Uniform Civil Procedure (Fees) Regulation 2019 (Qld)

[9] Section 6 Uniform Civil Procedure (Fees) Regulation 2019 (Qld)