The rules committee chaired by Justice Dean Mildren has settled the final form of the proposed Trial Civil Procedure Reforms Practice Direction and its accompanying Explanatory Memorandum. This proposed practice direction is likely to see significant changes in the way litigation is conducted in the Northern Territory Supreme Court. It introduces an obligation to engage in pre-action conduct similar to that which already applies in South Australia and the United Kingdom and which has been recommended by the Victorian Law Reform Commission. For the cases which do not settle pre-action, there will be active judicial case management including the setting of early trial dates. The parties and their representatives will be under a positive duty to assist the court ensure that “the real issues of substance which are in dispute between the parties, and only those issues, are resolved by the court justly, promptly, economically, and in proportion to the nature of the dispute”. The new practice direction is expected to be signed over the next week or so and will come into effect on 1 January 2010.