Land and Environment Court

​​​​​​​​​Welcome to the website of the NSW Land and Environment Court.

The Land and Environment Court hears environmental, development, building and planning disputes. Read more.

Latest News

22 December 2017

New Senior Commissioner, Commissioner and Acting Commissioners 

The Chief Judge is pleased to announce the appointment of a Senior Commissioner, Commissioner and Acting Commissioners of the Court.

Senior Commissioner Susan Dixon

Ms Susan Dixon has been appointed Senior Commissioner of the Court from 29 January 2018 to 5 July 2023.

Ms Dixon has served as a full time Commissioner of the Court since 2009. She is an Australian lawyer, having worked in private legal practice for 12 years before moving to the public sector. Ms Dixon was the Registrar of the Court for 5 years before her appointment as a Commissioner of the Court. She has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from Macquarie University. Ms Dixon has expertise in Alternative Dispute Resolution and is a nationally accredited mediator. Ms Dixon has also been an occasional university lecturer in environmental law and mining and petroleum law at the University of Technology, Sydney and the University of Notre Dame, Sydney. Ms Dixon has extensive experience in planning, environmental, local government, resource and administrative law, and mining law, having worked in these areas throughout her career.

Commissioner Peter Walsh

Mr Peter Walsh has been appointed a Commissioner of the Court from 29 January 2018 for a period of 7 years.

Mr Walsh is an experienced planner having run his own consulting practice for over 25 years. He has advised local, State and Commonwealth governments and has consulted extensively to the private sector in statutory planning and development assessment. He has provided expert testimony in the Land and Environment Court. Mr Walsh holds a Bachelor of Surveying (University of NSW), Graduate Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning (University of New England), Master of Business Administration (Macquarie University) and Doctor of Philosophy (Swinburne University). He is a registered planner and Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia. Mr Walsh has expertise in surveying, town and country planning, and governance of local government and town planning. He has lectured at University of Technology, Sydney in management of local government.

Acting Commissioner Sue Morris

Ms Sue Morris has been appointed an Acting Commissioner of the Court from 22 December 2017 for a period of 2 years.

Ms Morris recently retired from serving a 7 year term as a full time Commissioner of the Court. She is an experienced planner, having worked extensively in local government in town planning for over 23 years prior to appointment as a full time Commissioner of the Court. Ms Morris holds an Architectural Drafting Certificate (Sydney TAFE), Associate Diploma Town and Country Planning (Mitchell CAE) and an Ordinance 4 Certificate under NSW Local Government. She is a certified Practicing Planner PIA and trained mediator.

Acting Commissioner Edward Blakely

Professor Edward Blakely has been appointed an Acting Commissioner of the Court from 1 February 2018 for a period of 2 years.

Prof Blakely is one of Australia's leading planners. He has over 30 years' experience in planning and urban development throughout the world. Prior to this appointment, Prof Blakely was the Central City District Commissioner for the Greater Sydney Commission. Prof Blakely has served on over 100 panels as Chair of Sydney Planning Panels. He is a Professor of urban planning and policy at the University of Sydney and has taught at the highest level in universities in the USA and Australia. Prof Blakely holds a Bachelor of Arts (University of California), Master of Arts, History and Development Studies (University of California), Master of Management (Pasadena Nazarene College), Doctor of Philosophy in Management and Education (University of California) and will shortly complete a Master of Laws in Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution (Northwestern University). Prof Blakely has authored multiple publications and has served on numerous advisory boards both internationally and in Australia.

Acting Commissioner John Douglas

Mr John Douglas has been appointed as an Acting Commissioner of the Court from 22 December 2017 for a period of 2 years.

Mr Douglas is one of the most senior and experienced arborists in New South Wales. He has over 35 years' experience in arboriculture in both private practice and vocational education. Mr Douglas is currently the Head Teacher of Arboriculture at Ryde College of TAFE. Mr Douglas holds a Bachelor of Commerce (UNSW), Graduate Diploma in Environmental Studies (Macquarie) and Diplomas in Horticulture and Arboriculture (TAFE NSW). Mr Douglas is Chair of the TAFE NSW Arboriculture Trainers Community of Practice committee and represents TAFE NSW on the Arboriculture working group of Standards Australia. 

8 December 2017

Reappointment of Acting Justice Molesworth

Acting Justice Molesworth AO QC has been reappointed to act as a Judge of the Court for the period commencing on 1 January 2018 and expiring on 31 December 2018.

Continuation of leave of absence for Justice Pepper

Justice Pepper will continue to take leave of absence from the Court until 9 May 2018 to chair the NT Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing of Unconventional Reservoirs and Associated Activities. 

Recent New​s​

  • 16 November: Volume 9 Issue 3 of the Court's Judicial Newsletter is now available

  • 2 November
    On Wednesday 1 November, the Attorney General launched a video that provided information about the paperless trial experiment which has been conducted by the Court in two Class 3 Resumption Compensation matters. The video can be accessed through this link.

    A fact sheet has also been prepared to provide information about the paperless trial experiment. The fact sheet can be accessed through this link

    The Court has already scheduled a number of further Class 3 matters to be conducted on a paperless basis for the remainder of this year and in 2018 and the first Class 1 merit appeal to be conducted on this basis will also take place in early 2018.

  • 27 October: The Chief Judge announces that Senior Commissioner Rosemary Martin has resigned her appointment, effective 26 January 2018, for family reasons. She will be returning to Melbourne after that date. While she will continue working at the Court until then, I wish to take this opportunity to thank her for her contribution to the Court, and wish her well in her future endeavours.

  • 25 October 2017: The Court's Annual Review for 2016 is now available.

  • 25 September 2017: Tree dispute principle
    In Fang v Li & anor [2017] NSWLEC 1503, Acting Commissioner Galwey set out a tree dispute principle (at [58]) designed to provide guidance to parties where applications made pursuant to Part 2 of the Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006 include claims for rectification of, or compensation for, structural damage to property caused by roots of a tree located on adjoining land (being land to which s 4(1) of the Trees Act applies and where the tree is one to which s 4(3) and (4) of the Trees Act applies).

  • 18 September 2017: Court Vacation 2017-2018

    The Judges' fixed vacation begins on 18 December 2017 and the first day of term in 2018 will be Monday, 29 January 2018.

    Matters may be listed for s 34 conferences, mediations and hearings before Commissioners throughout the fixed vacation except for the public holidays and the public service holiday on Wednesday 27 December 2017.

    The final Registrar's directions hearing list for 2017 will be on Wednesday 20 December 2017. The Registrar's directions hearing list will resume on Monday 22 January 2018.

    A Duty Judge will be available during the fixed vacation for urgent matters.​

    Information on Registry opening hours over the Xmas break is available here.


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