What is an Interlocutory Application?

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What a great word!

 What a terrific word that is—interlocutory—you just want to keep saying it. From medieval Latin—interlocutorius—meaning to interrupt. And that’s where the essence of the phrase lies.


The apartment in Noosa? … what about it?

 In a perfect world, court cases would proceed to conclusion without interruption. All documents, statements, evidence of whatever kind, facts and recollections would all have been made known to the lawyers representing the parties.

No omission of crucial information, no withholding of important bits-and-pieces, no lack of disclosure.

 It is possible, however, that one party will need to force things a little, in order to make sure that all the parts are in place to facilitate a quality outcome. It may be necessary to interrupt the normal flow of proceedings to achieve this possibly small but vital stop-over on the journey to final destination. Always with only one objective, to ensure that the Court makes its decision with a full and clear view of the circumstances.


A stitch in time …

 There are many and varied reasons for your legal team to lodge an interlocutory application with the appropriate court. Here are some examples:

 Injunctive relief

This may be to prevent the other party from doing something—selling an asset, sending the racehorse overseas, terminating a contract—and will usually be quite time critical, an interim order to contain things before the horse has bolted.


This could be to compel the other party to provide necessary documents.


Need we say it? Yes, we do. Subpoena ad testificandum. Love it. Subpoena translates to under penalty, and is an order to force a party to provide a document, or perhaps, to attend court, or both—under penalty, if they don’t.


In this case, an order is given by the Court (prompted by an Interlocutory Application) to compel a party to answer questions that are relevant and necessary to the case.

 Medical examination

Court cases vary widely in their make-up, and it may be that the medical status of a party has the potential to impact upon the outcome, and needs to be a known quantity, at least as far as it is possible to ascertain.


This application may be made by either party and may be for such reasons as:

  • A party has decided that they have little chance of success
  • A party has decided that costs may be constrictive
  • The parties have reached agreement


These are just some examples of circumstances where an Interlocutory Application is made to the NSW Court system by a legal team.

There is a defined process to be followed in submitting the application, and in following it through to its conclusion. The resultant order by the Court will be to resolve one element of the case, and will deal only with that element, to ensure clarity for the whole. Applications may be made at any time during proceedings, or indeed, before proceedings have commenced.

 It is not necessary for a client to have an intimate knowledge of that process, but it is valuable to have a working understanding of the concept, as such applications protect your rights to a fair outcome, that is, a decision made by the Court with a full and clear view.

 Keep it simple, get it right, let a lawyer handle it. Litigation Law – in good hands. It will be easier with sound legal advice from the experts. Owen Hodge Lawyers. We are here to help. Contact us today.

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