It is not up to the parties to decide whether a matter is going to be adjourned. As with all matters before the Court, a request has to be made to the Judge or Registrar for the matter to be adjourned.
A request to the Court for an adjournment can be made orally (at a Court event) or in writing (prior to a Court event). You should NEVER assume that the Judge or Registrar who is asked for an adjournment will grant one.
The writer recalls an occasion many, many years ago when she attended Court and both the Applicant and the Respondent sought an adjournment. The writer was told in a very clear way by the Magistrate who she was appearing before that HE is the one making the decisions in HIS Court and that it is not up to the solicitor for the Applicant or the Respondent to decide what would or would not occur!
Considering that most of the time when an adjournment is requested it is usually because an Order or Direction made by the Judge has not been complied with or, there has been a problem or change in circumstances. Many Judges like knowing what has happened or, if something has not happened, why it has not happened so you have to expect to be questioned by the Judge or Registrar or (if you are requesting an adjournment in writing) explaining why this should be given.
When a Judge or Registrar decides whether or not to grant an adjournment they consider factors such as:
- What expenses will be incurred or saved by the adjournment;
- Whether any party has caused the need for an adjournment; and
- The length of the adjournment being requested and the impact on the parties and of course the Court.
The Court can make a costs order against a party when a matter is adjourned particularly if that party has failed to comply with an Order already made. This is why it is important to be ready to explain the circumstances of why an adjournment is needed at the time of the request. Even more important is the need to comply with any Orders of the Court that are made.