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The rules of court prescribe the means of commencing proceedings. They vary according to the court and the type of proceeding concerned. Some Australian jurisdictions retain the distinction between court and chambers, which is reflected in the mode of commencement of proceedings. As a generality, proceedings which involve a substantial factual dispute proceed by a formal procedure eventually leading to a trial in court. The full range of pre-trial steps apply to these proceedings, including pleadings, discovery of documents, interrogatories, pre-trial conferences and finally an oral trial in court. The mode of commencement of such proceedings is prescribed in the rules. Proceedings involving only a question of law usually have a separate mode of commencement.

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