The Warden’s court was established to deal with issues and disputes related to mining claims.
The function of the Warden’s Court
The Warden’s Court function include:
- Determine civil suits between miners that relate to mining tenements
- Consider applications by miners for relief from statutory obligations
- Determine the validity of mining tenements and their boundaries
- Adjudicate in matters where landowners object to entry by miners because mining operations on their land will create hardship
- Make recommendations about the revocation and variation of private mines
- Hear applications brought by the Director of Mines
Commence an action
All actions are commenced by filing a Plaint Note with the Warden’s Court Registry in Adelaide and paying the prescribed fee.
What happens once and application is filed?
As section 67(3) of the Mining Act gives the Director of Mines the right to appear in any proceedings before the Warden’s Court and a copy of each application is sent to the Director of Mines.
All matters are listed for a preliminary hearing. The registry will provide you with a date and time of the hearing. If you cannot attend you can ask the registry if the Warden will let you attend by telephone.
The preliminary hearing is fairly informal. At the hearing the Warden may make initial orders such as the serving of notices, requiring exchange of information, suggest settlement discussions and may fix a date for the trial of the matter.
The further evidence may be by affidavit and any submissions may be in writing. In certain cases the Warden will indicate that he is not prepared to accept evidence by affidavit at all, and requires the attendance of the applicant in Court.
The registry will assist in explaining the practices and procedures of the Court but cannot provide legal advice, or help individuals prepare or present cases. If you need legal advice you will need to contact a lawyer.
Yes you can have a lawyer but you can appear without a lawyer. If you decide not to have a lawyer at the preliminary hearing you can instruct a lawyer after that if you then decide that you need one.
The plaint should generally be supported by brief facts set out in the form of an affidavit on the back of the plaint. If an applicant prefers to present his evidence in person rather than by affidavit he is entitled to do so.
To make it easy to deal with some applications there are special provisions in the Warden’s Court Rules to allow the Court, at its discretion, to accept evidence by affidavit. This enables the Court to deal with routine matters, such as an application to suspend labour conditions, without the necessity of attendance by the applicant.
Affidavits are not usually accepted in contested cases where a witness must be available for cross-examination. Swearing a false affidavit carries the same penalty as giving false evidence in the witness box.
Appealing a decision
An appeal against any judgment or order of the Court can be made to the Environment, Resources and Development Court within 28 days from the date of the judgment.