Amending court documents - Queensland Courts

Amending court documents - Queensland Courts

Sometimes in civil proceedings, you may want to amend one of your court documents. This factsheet tells you how to amend your court documents.

Similarly, the other party might amend one of their court documents, for example their statement of claim. This factsheet tells you how to respond.

Amending a court document

Under the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (UCPR) the court can allow an amendment of a claim, a pleading, an application or any other document.

There are six limits on the ability of a party to amend a document:

  1. To amend an "originating process" you need the leave of the court (rule 377(1)). If the amendments are technical or if you haven't yet served the plaintiff then a Registrar can give that leave. An originating process is a Claim, Originating Application or a Notice of Appeal.
  2. If you are amending a document so that you are adding a new party, changing the capacity in which a party is suing, or claiming a new cause of action, and the limitation date for your cause of action has expired, you will need to seek the leave of the court to make the amendment (rule 376).
  3. Once a request for trial date has been filed, you need the leave of the court to amend any court documents (rules 380 and 470(a)). The courts can be quite strict on allowing amendments to documents during the course of a trial so it is best to bring any applications well in advance of the court hearing.
  4. While you can amend, the other party can ask that you pay their costs of responding to the amendment (rule 386).
  5. If you are amending your defence, and if your defence made any deemed admissions, then the plaintiff might object to you amending your defence to effectually withdraw your deemed admissions, unless you first seek the leave of the court to withdraw an admission (rule 166(1)).
    • In that case, we recommend that you write to the plaintiff's lawyers, provide them with a copy of your amended defence, and ask them if they agree to those amendments without the need (and cost) of applying to the court for leave to amend or withdraw those admissions.
    • If they don't agree, then you can bring an application to the court using a form 9 application and a form 46 affidavit. You should exhibit your letter to the plaintiff to your affidavit.
  6. You should always bear in mind rule 5 of the UCPR. This rule requires a party to court proceedings to proceed quickly and efficiently to resolve their dispute. While on one reading of rule 378, a party can amend a document as many times as they like before a request for trial date is filed, this has got to be considered in light of the overall purpose and philosophy of the UCPR.
    • In any event, repeated amendments of documents, while sometimes necessary, become very difficult to read and are confusing for not only the other party, but also for the judge hearing your case.

How to amend

To amend court documents you need a copy of the original document to work from.

You can not just add and remove material from the documents. Additions and deletions need to be clearly shown and distinguishable (rule 382).

You should underline new material.

You should rule a line through material that you are no longer relying on.

E.g. The Defendant was the registered owner of the property at 100 Green Street, Brisbane in the State of Queensland, being described as Lot 1 on Survey Plan 12 345 12 346 Parish of Brisbane County of Stanley in the State of Queensland.

If you are amending a document that has already been amended, then on the front page of the document that you have amended you should:

  1. amend the title of the document; and
  2. write down the left hand side of the page, "Amended pursuant to the order of [INSERT NAME OF JUDGE] dated [INSERT DATE OF ORDER]" if a judge made an order for the amendment, otherwise "Amended pursuant to rule 378 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999." In both cases, you also need to sign and date this notation (rule 382).

To see an example, click here for the sample amendment.

Amending out of time

The court has a general discretion to allow amendments that have been made after the limitation date that applies has expired. You can find more information by reading LawRight's factsheet Limitation periods.

The court's approach has been to allow these amendments where the new cause of action arises out of "substantially the same facts" that have previously been pleaded. This means that if the amendments change the cause of action you are relying on, but you are still using the same facts that you pleaded in your initial statement of claim, then the court is more likely to allow an amendment even if it is out of time: Draney v Barry [202] 1 QdR 145.

Responding to an amendment

If you receive an amended document from the other party, you should consider if you need to respond to it.

For example, if you receive an Amended Statement of Claim that amends the amounts of damages that the plaintiff is claiming, but your existing defence responds to the allegations that have been made, then you may not need to amend (rule 385(3)).

On the other hand if the Amended Statement of Claim raises new allegations that are not responded to by your Defence, then you can respond by amending your Defence.

Under rule 385(2) of the UCPR a response to an amended pleading is due eight days after the amended pleading was served on you. This is the case even where an Amended Statement of Claim is served, and means that you can have very little time in which to respond to an amended pleading.

You can also respond to an amended pleading, by applying to disallow the amendments (rule 379).


Health care planning

Health Care Planning

Advance Care Planning involves setting out your wishes now for your future health and medical care.

There are three main types of advance care planning. These are:

  1. Enduring Power of Attorney
  2. Advance Health Directive; and
  3. Statement of Views.

These forms of advance care planning only come into effect when you are no longer able to speak for yourself.

1. Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a formal document used by an adult (the principal) to authorise one or more persons (the attorneys) to make personal and/or financial decisions on the principal’s behalf if the principal lacks capacity to make those decisions. An EPA allows you to name someone to make decisions on your behalf if or when you can no longer do so. That person (referred to as your “attorney”) can be authorised to make financial (money) decisions, personal decisions (for example, relating to health care), or both. An attorney appointed for personal matters will become the primary contact if you need medical treatment. People often make an EPA when they make a Will.

The person you select cannot make decisions about “special health matters” (e.g. organ donation). Those decisions are made by your next of kin (closest relative).

An example of an enduring power of attorney document that you can complete online can be found at: https://publications.qld.gov.au/dataset/power-of-attorney-and-advance-health-directive

Paper copies can also be obtained from many newsagents.

For more information, see LawRight’s:

2. Advance Health Directive (AHD)

This legally binding document tells health care professionals what treatment you would like to receive (or not receive) in the event that you are no longer able to make your wishes clear (e.g. you might be unconscious). While you are still able to speak for yourself, the Advance Health Directive will not be used.

Health professionals treating you must abide by your instructions in the Advance Health Directive, unless they are not consistent with good medical practice (you might have asked for something that could make your health worse) or are illegal (eg. a request for euthanasia).

When you fill out an Advance Health Directive, your doctor must agree that you understand your health condition(s) and the effect of making the Advance Health Directive. It is worth talking with your doctor before completing any forms.

You must also be at least 18 years old.

View LawRight’s step-by-step guide to completing an Advance Health Directive (with links to electronic forms) can be found by clicking the box below.

3. Statement of Views/Choices

If the person has completed an Enduring Power of Attorney or Advance Health Directive whilst they had capacity, they don’t need to do anything else. However, if a person lacks legal capacity and they have not pre-arranged an EPA or AHD, they may be able to get assistance to prepare a Statement of Views/Choices. Unlike an Advance Health Directive or EPA, this document lacks legal force, but it still may help guide medical and care practitioners in deciding care arrangements. A Statement of Views/Choices is usually prepared by a family member in collaboration with care professionals.

Read a more detailed explanation about a Statement of Views.

For information on other decision-makers for a person without legal capacity, such as the appointment of a guardian for health care for a person by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘QCAT’) or appointment of a statutory health attorney see the factsheets at: Guardianship and Administration.

External resources

  • Public Guardian – The Office of the Public Guardian is an independent body, working to protect the rights and interests of adults who have an impaired capacity to make their own decisions.

More factsheets about Health Care Planning.


Disclaimer

The information in this resource is for general information purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact LawRight or another lawyer. LawRight can only give advice to people who are eligible for our services.