LEC 40th Anniversary Conference Postponed
22 June 2020
The Court's 40th anniversary conference and dinner on 31 August 2020 at NSW Parliament House has been postponed.
The social distancing and travel restrictions that will still be in place at that time make holding the event unviable. The Court hopes to hold the conference in 2021, still in the Court's 40th year of operation, once the restrictions are lifted. The date for the re-scheduled conference will be announced in the future once it is known when the restrictions will be lifted.
Microsoft Teams Practitioner's Fact Sheet
27 May 2020
The Court has issued a fact sheet for using Microsoft Teams at the Land and Environment Court. Link to the fact sheet here.
Land and Environment Court (Amendment No 1) Rule 2020
15 May 2020
A Rule has been made to amend the Land and Environment Court Rules 2007 to:
(a) extend the application of rule 3.10 relating to Court functions not exercisable by Commissioners to Commissioners exercising the jurisdiction of the Land and Environment Court or any other function under the Land and Environment Court Act 1979, and
(b) update references to provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
The Rule is now published on the NSW legislation website.
Delegation to Registrars under section 13 of the Civil Procedure Act 2005
7 May 2020
The Delegation to Registrars under section 13 of the Civil Procedure Act 2005 has been updated. Link here.
Commissioner Elizabeth Espinosa Appointed
6 May 2020
The Chief Judge is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Commissioner to the Court.
Ms Elizabeth Espinosa has been appointed a Commissioner of the Court from 1 June 2020 for a period of 7 years.
Ms Espinosa's practice as a solicitor spans over 20 years, specialising in local government, planning and environmental law. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from the University of Wollongong. Ms Espinosa was admitted as an Australian lawyer in June 1997. Ms Espinosa's experience in the Court is wide-ranging. As a solicitor she has appeared in most classes of jurisdiction of the Land and Environment Court. She has extensive experience in local government and in assessment of development applications. In her previous role as General Counsel at Liverpool City Council she was responsible for providing high level legal services and appearing as legal representative in the Court and provided legal advice for Council and Councillors in relation to local government development applications and dealings.
Ms Espinosa recently has served as the President of the Law Society of NSW, and currently remains a Councillor of the Law Society of NSW. She is also Director of the Corporate Governance Committee of the Law Council of Australia.
Court Vacation 2020-2021
4 May 2020
The Judges' fixed vacation begins on 21 December 2020 and the first day of term in 2021 will be Monday, 1 February 2021.
A Duty Judge will be available during the fixed vacation for urgent matters.
Matters may be listed for s34 conferences, mediations and hearing before Commissioners throughout the fixed vacation period except for the public holidays and the public service holiday on Tuesday, 29 December 2020.
The final Registrar's directions hearing list for 2020 will be on Friday, 18 December 2020. The Registrar's directions hearing list will resume on Monday, 18 January 2021.
Both Online Registry and Online Court will be operating 24 hours a day as normal during the vacation period and parties are encouraged to avail themselves of these resources. Applications, appeals, notice of motion and subpoenas can continue to be filed by Online Registyr. Online Court can continue to seek directions and also access orders for subpoenas and notices to produce throughout the vacation.
Information on Registry opening hours over the Xmas break is available here.
28 April 2020
Volume 12 Issue 1 (February 2020) of the Court's Judicial Newsletter is now available.
The 2019 AustLII Database Metric and Statistics for the Court
21 April 2020
The Court has been involved for a number of years in a collaborative project with AustLII to provide a range of metrics showing the use made of LEC decisions etc. The 2019 calendar year metrics are now available.
Early Listing Dates for Conciliation Conferences and Hearings
Due to the vacation of listings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court has dates available between now and 30 June 2020 for conciliation conferences and hearings to be conducted by telephone. Available dates will be shown on the daily court lists. All parties to proceedings that have listings after 30 June 2020 or have new proceedings before the Court are encouraged to confer with each other and try to reach agreement on taking one of these early dates. If the parties agree that an early listing date can be taken, then they can apply for an early date through Online Court.
New Acting Commissioner Appointments
8 April 2020
The Chief Judge is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Peter Kempthorne, Mr Paul Knight, Mr Matthew Pullinger and Ms Jennifer Smithson as Acting Commissioners of the Court for the period commencing 8 April 2020 and expiring on 24 February 2021.
Acting Commissioner Peter Kempthorne
Mr Kempthorne has a Diploma in Real Estate Valuation from Sydney TAFE (1978) and an Associate Professional Certificate in specialist retail valuation (NSW Retail leases). He is a Fellow of the Australian Property Institute and a certified practising valuer (NSW). Mr Kempthorne has over 30 years applied experience as a valuer. He has been in private practice since 1995, in an independent real estate and valuation consultancy and has extensive experience in all types of property and rental valuations. Mr Kempthorne has been actively involved in professional bodies. He has been a member of the NSW Property Management Committee (1992-1996) and NSW Division, Property Management Award Judge (1994-2000) for the Property Council of Australia.
Acting Commissioner Paul Knight
Mr Knight has a Diploma in Real Estate Valuation from Sydney TAFE (1986), and commenced training as a valuer in 1979 with the Department of the Valuer General. Mr Knight has over 40 years applied experience as a valuer having previously been Assistant Director of Valuation Objections and Appeals with the Valuer General dealing with all land values issued in NSW and subsequently Assistant Director of Valuation Operations in NSW, with the NSW Land and Property Information. In 2016, Mr Knight retired from the public sector and established his own private valuation consultancy, specialising in advice on statutory valuation and land tax liability. Mr Knight has extensive experience in valuation of land under the Valuation of Land Act 1916 and the Compulsory Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991. He is a Fellow of the Australian Property Institute.
Acting Commissioner Matthew Pullinger
Mr Pullinger holds the degrees of Bachelor of Science (Architecture), Bachelor of Architecture (Honours) and Master of Urban Design, all from the University of Sydney. He is a registered architect in NSW and the ACT. Mr Pullinger has 27 years of applied experience as an architect and urban designer. Mr Pullinger has received many awards for Sustainable Architecture and Urban Design and led a range of projects, such as the 2040 Master Plan for Moore Park, 60 Martin Place, and the Summer Hill Flour Mill. Mr Pullinger has been actively involved in professional bodies. He is a past President and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and a Board Member of the NSW Architects Registration Board (2013-2015).
Acting Commissioner Jennifer Smithson
Ms Smithson has served as a full time Commissioner of the Court since 2016 and an Acting Commissioner of the Court for five years prior. Ms Smithson is a town planner, with a Bachelor of Arts, Urban and Regional Planning (with Distinction) and a Master of Town and Country Planning. She is a Life Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) and has served as WA State President and National Councillor of the PIA. She has 30 years applied experience in NSW and WA in the private and public sectors. She has served as a sessional member of the State Administrative Tribunal of WA.
Interim Procedure for the Issuing of Class 5 Proceedings
The Court has issued an interim Protocol for the issuing of Class 5 proceedings at the Land and Environment Court. Link to the Protocol.
Telephone and Audio Visual Link Conferencing Protocol
The Court has issued a Protocol for using audio link and audio visual link at the Land and Environment Court. Link to the Protocol.
Changes in Registry filing procedures
From Tuesday 24 March 2020, the counter of the LEC Registry will not be personally attended by Registry staff. All documents should be filed by Online Registry, DX, post or courier, as previously advised. If filing of hard copy documents is necessary, a box has been provided in the public foyer near the counter for filing documents. The box will be regularly cleared and the documents processed by Registry staff and the processed documents returned to the parties.
24 March 2020
COVID-19 Further Restrictions
The Court has reviewed the current health advice regarding social distancing with the aim of minimising personal attendances at Court listings (including hearings, conciliations, mediations and onsite views). The situation is changing rapidly. In the light of current health advice the Court now directs that all listings proceed by telephone or AVL.
The Court is equipped to utilise Online Court, Online Registry and telephone conferencing.
The unique circumstances of the Court's jurisdiction require a specific approach on a case by case basis to determine if it is feasible to deal with the matter via telephone or AVL. If not, it is likely to be postponed.
The Court will implement a review of all matters listed from 30 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. Each matter will be listed for a telephone directions hearing to consider whether the listing can be conducted via telephone or other suitable arrangements are able to be made.
If it is determined that the matter cannot proceed, the listing date will be vacated and the matter will be listed for further directions.
In relation to the matters listed from Tuesday 24 March 2020 to 27 March 2020 the parties will be contacted by the Court on Monday 23 March 2020 to discuss the management of the particular listing.
The COVID-19 Pandemic Arrangements Policy will be amended in the near future to reflect the need to consider whether matters can proceed by telephone or AVL.
Acting Chief Judge
New COVID-19 Pandemic Arrangements Policy
The Court will be implementing the following procedures from Monday, 23 March 2020. Apart from parties being directed to use Online Court, Online Registry and teleconference facilities and avoid attendance in person, wherever practicable, the Court requires compliance with the new COVID-19 Pandemic Arrangements Policy.
The Court continues to monitor the health advice from the Australian Government and NSW Government in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19). In adopting this Policy, the Court is endeavouring both to protect the health and safety of all court users and to maintain access to justice and essential court services. If the measures in this Policy are not adopted, and embraced by the parties and practitioners, the only alternative is to cease all conciliations, mediations and hearings in the Court. This will place even greater hardship on parties than accommodating the restrictive rules of procedure for conciliations, mediations and hearings at this time.
New filing arrangements at the Land and Environment Court
20 March 2020
In order to maintain the practice of social distancing recommended by NSW Health, the Court is strengthening its new arrangements for the filing of documents advised on the website.
The following sign has now been placed on the doors to the Registry on level 4 and the arrangements are to take effect immediately.
If you are a legally represented party seeking to file a document, you must file your documents by one of the following means:
· Online Registry
· DX 264 Sydney
· posted to Land and Environment Court, GPO Box 3565, Sydney NSW 2001
· by courier delivered to the Court at Level 4, 225 Macquarie Street, Sydney.
Filed copies of your documents will be returned to you once processed by the Court together with any relevant invoice.
If you are not legally represented or you are not seeking to file a document, please call the Court on 9113 8200 and a member of Registry staff will be able to assist you further.
Application to the Court where self-isolation necessary
19 March 2020
The Australian and NSW government require self-isolation to limit the spread of COVID-19 in various circumstances. Anyone required to self-isolate must not attend the Court building or any Court proceedings wherever conducted.
The Court will consider any application to vacate hearing or conciliation dates or other listings where a legal representative or other person involved in Court proceedings or a party is obliged to self-isolate. Application should be made by Online Court and must include reasons and propose dates for a rescheduled listing.
Minimising the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) update 18 March 2020
The WHO has declared the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic. The Court continues to monitor NSW Health announcements and health advice relating to (COVID-19) on a daily basis and make changes to minimise risk to the court members, staff and court users.
The Court has implemented measures to reduce the need for personal attendance by parties and keep the Court operational as far as possible.
As the Court has telephone link services available, the Court requires listing of matters for directions or other orders by telephone whenever possible.
The Court will continue to run a daily Registrar's list and the Friday Judge lists. These should be conducted remotely. Matters including procedural and contested matters must be dealt with on the papers and by telephone as far as possible.
The Court is reviewing all matters including: conciliation conferences on a case by case basis to maximise the use of telephone facilities and AVL including for regional matters.
Duty Lawyer Scheme
18 March 2020
A duty lawyer scheme has been operating in the Land and Environment Court since April 2018.
The scheme is the result of a collaboration between the EPLA, the EDO, NSW Law Society Young Lawyers Environment and Planning Committee, Macquarie University Law School and practitioners from the Court Users Group.
The scheme is aimed at assisting self-represented litigants who are respondents in Classes 4 (except judicial review), 5, 6 and 7 of the Court's jurisdiction.
Every Friday between 9am and 12 noon a duty lawyer will be available by telephone to provide preliminary advice to self-represented litigants with a view to guiding them through the Court process and referring them to appropriate services. Read more or contact the registry on 9113 8200 to make a booking.
Minimising the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)
13 March 2020
The Court is carefully monitoring the Commonwealth and State Governments' announcements and health advice relating to coronavirus (COVID-19).
In an endeavour to contain its effects and keep the Court operational as much as possible, parties in Classes 1, 2 (excluding tree dispute applications), 3, 4 and 8 are encouraged to use Online Registry and Online Court. Both Online Court and Online Registry will be operating 24 hours a day as normal and parties should avail themselves of these resources as much as possible.
Applications, appeals, notice of motion and subpoenas can continue to be filed by Online Registry. Online Court can be used to seek directions (including listing matters for conciliation conferences, mediations and hearings) and also access orders for subpoenas and notices to produce.
Parties in Class 2 tree dispute applications and Class 5, 6 and 7 criminal proceedings and appeals are encouraged to continue to seek directions and also access orders for subpoenas and notices to produce using the firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
The Court also has telephone link services available and encourages the parties to seek to have matters listed for directions or mention by telephone if they would prefer.
The Court will continue to run a daily Registrar's list and the Friday Judge lists, however these small measures will minimise the need for parties to come to Court in the near future.
Save the Date - Land and Environment Court's 40th Anniversary
The Chief Judge invites you to save the date of 31 August 2020 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Land and Environment Court of NSW. During the day of 31 August 2020, the Court will be hosting a one day seminar at Parliament House. That evening there will also be a gala dinner in the Strangers' Dining Room.
Volume 11 Issue 3 (October 2019) of the Court's Judicial Newsletter is now available.
22 November 2019
As the bushfire situation in NSW remains volatile the Court continues to monitor onsite Court views and s 34 conciliations with the assistance of the parties. If parties have safety concerns can they please contact the Registry on 9113 8200 or by Online Court.
12 November 2019
The Court is closely monitoring the bushfire risk and the warnings that are currently in place across NSW.
The Court has made alternative arrangement for conciliation conferences and hearings that are scheduled to commence or be conducted on site over the course of the next few days that are in high risk areas. Those parties have already been notified of these changes. No changes in current listing arrangements should otherwise be assumed.
If parties to proceedings have questions or concerns about the conduct of conciliation conferences and hearings commencing on site, please contact the Court on 9113 8200 or through the message function in Online Court.
Court Vacation 2019-2020
22 October 2019
The Judges' fixed vacation begins on 23 December 2019 and the first day of term in 2020 will be Monday, 3 February 2020.
A Duty Judge will be available during the fixed vacation for urgent matters.
Matters may be listed for s34 conferences, mediations and hearing before Commissioners throughout the fixed vacation period except for the public holidays and the public service holiday on Friday, 27 December 2019.
The final Registrar's directions hearing list for 2019 will be on Friday, 20 December 2019. The Registrar's directions hearing list will resume on Monday, 20 January 2020.
Both Online Registry and Online Court will be operating 24 hours a day as normal during the vacation period and parties are encouraged to avail themselves of these resources. Applications, appeals, notice of motion and subpoenas can continue to be filed by Online Registry. Online Court can continue to seek directions and also access orders for subpoenas and notices to produce throughout the vacation.
Information on Registry opening hours over the Xmas break is available here.
The 2018 AustLII Database Metrics and Statistics for the Court
18 September 2019
AustLII has provided the database metrics and statistics for the Court in 2018. They can be accessed through this link.
A comparison between 2017 and 2018 shows that, during 2018, there were 412 new citations of this Court's decisions. Although primarily in other decisions of this Court (internal citation), there were also two new citations of this Court's decisions in New Zealand and there were regular citations in other Australian jurisdictions.
During 2018, decisions of this Court were cited in all Australian states and territories as well as in the Federal jurisdiction. Details of frequency of citation can be seen in the table “Citations by database” in the full metrics information.
The historic rate of citation trend line shows that there has been a plateauing of the increase in citation of this Court's decisions but that the annual rate of citation has remained above 900 for the past two years. Citations during 2018 have included an immigration case in the Federal Court (Buadromo v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection  FCA 1592) and a contempt case in the Victorian Supreme Court (Alpass v Hession  VSC 748) – to give but two examples of the eclectic range of cases where decisions of this Court are cited.
New Judge Announced
4 September 2019
Attorney General Mark Speakman SC today announced the appointment of barrister Sandra Duggan SC as a judge of the Land and Environment Court. View the media release. Ms Duggan SC will be sworn in on 10 September 2019 at 9am in the Banco Court, Law Courts Building.
Ms Duggan is a leading barrister in planning and environmental law. After initially practising as a solicitor from 1988, Ms Duggan was called to the Bar in 1995 and was appointed a Senior Counsel in 2010, specialising in local government, planning, environmental, mining and property law. She holds a combined Arts/Law degree from Macquarie University and is currently completing a Master of Archaeological Science degree at the Australian National University.
Throughout her career Ms Duggan has advised and appeared for all parties to planning and environment disputes, including local government, State government, developers (corporate and individual) and community groups.
Ms Duggan has been actively involved with legal professional bodies, including serving as President of the Environmental and Planning Law Association of NSW (EPLA), Chair of the Women Barristers Forum, member of the Bar Association Practice Development Committee and managing Editor of the Environmental Law Reporter.
The Chief Judge is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Philip Clay SC and Ms Maureen Peatman as Acting Commissioners of the Court for the period commencing 4 September 2019 and expiring on 3 September 2020.
Acting Commissioner Philip Clay
Mr Clay SC holds the degrees of Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws (University of New South Wales) and a Diploma of Legal Practice. Mr Clay was admitted as a solicitor in 1979 and was called to the Bar in 1992. He was appointed Senior Counsel in 2011.
Mr Clay has 39 years applied experience as practising lawyer. At the Bar, Mr Clay has specialised in planning and environmental law work, primarily in the Land and Environment Court, but also in the Supreme Court of NSW, Court of Appeal and High Court of Australia.
Mr Clay has been actively involved in legal professional bodies, serving as President of the Environmental and Planning Law Association (NSW) (2010-2012) and has also assisted the NSW Bar Association in continuing professional development programmes, including the Bar Reader's Course.
Acting Commissioner Maureen Peatman
Ms Peatman holds a Diploma of Law (Solicitor's Admission Board) from the University of Sydney. She has over 35 years applied experience as a solicitor specialising in environment and planning law, valuation law and compulsory acquisition law.
The compulsory acquisition cases in which she has been involved have included cases involving the power to acquire land, simple acquisitions of land, and complex matters.
Ms Peatman has been actively involved in legal professional bodies, including serving on the Executive and as Vice President of the Environmental Planning Law Association (NSW), establishing the Australian Environment and Planning Law Group of the Law Council of Australia and serving as Chair (2004-2008), and serving on the Executive of the Legal Practice Section of the Law Council of Australia (2012-present), including as Chair and Deputy Chair.
2018 Annual Review
23 July 2019
The Court's Annual Review for 2018 is now available.
New Fee Schedule
12 July 2019
The Civil Procedure Amendment (Fees) Regulation 2019 and Criminal Procedure Amendment (Fees) Regulation 2019 has increased the Court's fees by 1.75% effective from 12 July 2019. The fee schedule is now available.
9 July 2019
Volume 11 Issue 2 (June 2019) of the Court's Judicial Newsletter is now available.
25 March 2019
Volume 11 Issue 1 (February 2019) of the Court's Judicial Newsletter is now available.
New Class 3 - Compensation Claims Practice Note
15 March 2019
The Practice Note – Class 3 Compensation Claims dated 15 July 2011 has been replaced with a new Practice Note that:
The new Practice Note commences on 15 March 2019.
Acting Commissioner Julie Bindon Appointment
21 December 2018
The Chief Judge is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Julie Bindon as an Acting Commissioner of the Court for the period commencing 21 December 2018 and expiring on 25 February 2020.
Ms Bindon is an experienced planner with over 35 years' experience. Ms Bindon holds a Bachelor of Town Planning (University of Auckland) and Postgraduate Diploma of Land Economy (University of Sydney). She is a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia and Honorary Fellow of the Australian Property Institute. She is a certified Practising Planner.
Ms Bindon founded and chaired JBA Urban Planning Consultants Pty Ltd, a leading consultant planning firm, before the firm's merger to form Ethos Urban Pty Ltd, where she was a Director. Ms Bindon played a major role in the planning of significant public and private projects. She has served on numerous professional and governments institutions and committees, including the Planning Institute of Australia, NSW Heritage Council and Western Sydney Parkland Trust.
New Class 2 - Tree Applications Practice Note
22 November 2018
The Practice Note – Class 2
Tree Applications dated 13 May 2014 has been replaced with a new Practice Note
that adds a paragraph to direction 10 of the Usual Directions found in Schedule
A. Direction 10 now reads:
The respondent is to file with the Court and serve a copy on the applicant, the
local council and the Heritage Council of NSW, by 4.30pm on ……………………………, any
order pursuant to s 9 and/or s 14D of the Trees (Disputes Between
Neighbours) Act 2006 or pursuant to s 13A of the Dividing Fences Act
1991 which the respondent proposes as an alternative to or in addition to
the orders sought by the applicant. If the respondent wishes to retain the
tree, the respondent’s proposed order should include any solution to prevent
the tree causing damage to the applicant’s property, including any engineering
or construction solution, which would enable the tree to be retained;”
The new Practice Note
commences on 1 December 2018.
20 November 2018
Volume 10 Issue 3 (October 2018) of the
Court's Judicial Newsletter is now available.
Court Vacation 2018-2019
3 October 2018
Judges' fixed vacation begins on 17 December 2018 and the first day of term in
2019 will be Tuesday, 29 January 2019.
Duty Judge will be available during the fixed vacation for urgent 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 Thursday, 27 December 2018.
final Registrar's directions hearing list for 2018 will be on Wednesday, 19
December 2018. The Registrar's directions hearing list will resume on Monday,
21 January 2019.
Online Registry and Online Court will be operating 24 hours a day as normal
during the vacation period and parties are encouraged to avail themselves of
these resources. Applications, appeals, notices of motion and subpoenas can
continue to be filed by Online Registry. Online Court can continue to seek
directions and also access orders for subpoenas and notices to produce
throughout the vacation.
on Registry opening hours over the Xmas break is available here.
Commissioner Timothy Horton Appointment
27 September 2018
Chief Judge is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Commissioner to the
Timothy Horton has been appointed a Commissioner of the Court from 5 November
2018 for a period of 7 years.
Horton is an experienced architect with over 20 years' applied experience in
the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and planning.
Mr Horton holds a Bachelor of Architecture (Honours) (University of Sydney) and
a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Design (University of Canberra).
He is a registered architect and Associate Member of the Royal Australian Institute
of Architects. He is formerly the Registrar of the NSW Architects Registration
Board. Mr Horton has delivered public architecture, commercial architecture and
interior architecture projects throughout Australia. He has won numerous
national and state architectural and urban design awards for his work. He
served as the Commissioner for Integrated Design in South Australia providing
expert strategic advice to the State government on good urban design and a
sustainable built environment. He has served at the highest levels of the
architecture profession, including being Chapter President and then National
Director of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, and the Chair of
various state Practice Committees. He has served as a juror for awards for architecture,
planning, urban design and sustainability.
ADR Group of the Year Award
21 August 2018
The Chief Judge is pleased to announce that the Land and Environment Court of NSW has been awarded “Courts and Tribunals – ADR Group of the Year” at the prestigious Australian Disputes Centre ADR Awards 2018.
The Australian Disputes Centre was first established in 1986 by the then NSW Attorney General, the Honourable Justice Terry Sheahan and the Honourable Sir Laurence Street, Chief Justice of the NSW Supreme Court, and is now dedicated to advancing alternative dispute resolution across Australia and internationally to deliver benefits of world class alternative dispute resolution to businesses, professionals, governments and communities.
This award from the Australian Disputes Centre recognises the wide range of reforms that have been undertaken by the Court so as to be able to provide a range of dispute resolution processes to parties which it matches to the individual dispute and disputants.
This approach is unique in NSW to the Land and Environment Court.
Alternative dispute resolution procedures have now been embedded in the Court’s practices, processes and procedures and this has resulted in a shift of the culture of the Court from being highly litigious and adversarial to conciliatory.
The outstanding success of the Land and Environment Court’s alternative dispute resolution processes, the value it provide to the community and the benefits to the parties of providing individualised justice are demonstrated by the year on year increase in the number of matters that continue to be filed in the Court and number of matter that are conciliated and resolved prior to any hearing.
The Court is proud to receive this award and to have its leadership in the practice of alternative dispute resolution recognised.
1 August 2018
Volume 10 Issue 2 (June 2018) of the Court's Judicial Newsletter is now available.
Court Fee Increase
28 June 2018
Effective 1 July 2018 the Court's fees will increase by 2%. fee schedule
Annual Review 201714 May 2018The Court's Annual Review for 2017 is now available.
AustLII Metrics and statistics for 20179 April 2018As part of the implementation of the International Framework for Court Excellence, the Court commissioned a project with AustLII to use its databases to generate metrics and statistics concerning the Court. The results to the end of 2017 are available here.New Practice Notes and Policies29 March 2018
The Practice Note – Class 1 Development Appeals,Practice Note – Class 1 Residential Development Appeals and Practice Note – Classes 1, 2 and 3 Miscellaneous Appeals have been remade to refer to the new numbering of the statutory provisions in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. The Practice Notes commence on 3 April 2018.
The Site Inspections Policy and Identity Theft Prevention and Anonymisation Policy have also been remade to refer to the new statutory provisions in theEnvironmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
The Practice Note – Class 5 Proceedings has been amended and remade to:
Judicial Newsletter16 March 2018Volume 10 Issue 1 (February 2018) of the Court's Judicial Newsletter is now available.
Pilot Duty Lawyer Scheme8 March 2018
A duty lawyer scheme will be trialled in the Land and Environment Court for a 6 month period commencing 6 April 2018.
The pilot scheme is the result of a collaboration between the EPLA, the EDO, NSW Law Society Young Lawyers Environment and Planning Committee, Macquarie University Law School and practitioners from the Court Users Group.
The pilot scheme is aimed at assisting self-represented litigants in Classes 4 and 5 of the Court's jurisdiction. If it proves successful it may be broadened to other Classes or types of proceedings in the Court.
A duty lawyer will be available on Level 4 between 9am and 12 noon each Friday to provide preliminary advice to self-represented litigants with a view to guiding them through the Court process and referring them to appropriate services.
New Senior Commissioner, Commissioner and Acting Commissioners 22 December 2017
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.
Reappointment of Acting Justice Molesworth8 December 2017Acting 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.
Judicial Newsletter16 NovemberVolume 9 Issue 3 of the Court's Judicial newsletter is now available.Paperless trial2 NovemberOn 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.Announcement27 October 2017The 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. Annual Review25 October 2017The Court's Annual Review for 2016 is now available.
Tree dispute principle25 September 2017In Fang v Li & anor  NSWLEC 1503, Acting Commissioner Galwey set out a tree dispute principle (at ) 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).Court Vacation 2017-201818 September 2017
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.Judicial Newsletter2 August 2017Volume 9 Issue 2 of the Court's Judicial Newsletter is now available.Access subpoenaed items from the Online Registry Website1 August 2017 Legal practitioners can now download subpoenaed items directly from the Online Registry Website, once producers have uploaded documents online and subject to access orders being granted. Read more.Submissions on proposed changes to the Class 3 Compensation Claims Practice Note31 July 2017The Court has received the following submissions on the proposed changes to the practice note:- EPLA- Transport for NSW- Young Lawyers- Practitioner- Practitioner- Practitioner
New practice note issued - residential development appeals20 July 2017Justice Preston has today made a new Class 1 Residential Development Appeals Practice Note replacing the Practice Note of the same name made on 28 March 2017. It will commence on 24 July 2017.
The new practice note amends the usual directions regarding draft conditions of consent in Schedule E paragraph 12 (a) and (e) so that the respondent consent authority is to file and serve draft conditions of consent (both hard copy and electronic form) by 14 days before the conciliation conference and hearing (instead of 7 days) and that the applicant for consent is to file and serve its draft conditions in response (both hard copy and electronic form) by 7 days before the conciliation conference and hearing (instead of 2 days). These are the only amendments.
Location of brothels planning principle12 July 2017In Yao v Liverpool City Council  NSWLEC 1167, handed down on 31 March 2017, Brown C set out at [24-25] that the Commissioners had decided that the planning principle in Martyn v Hornsby Shire Council  NSWLEC 614 at 18-21 should be replaced with objective based considerations for the location of brothels. New fee schedule30 June 2017From 1 July 2017, new fees apply.New Commissioner14 June 2017
The Chief Judge is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Sarah Bish as a Commissioner of the Court from 28 June 2017.
Ms Bish is an environmental scientist, with special knowledge and expertise in geology, hydrogeology, groundwater management and water resource management. She has over 26 years of applied experience in the fields of water resource management and environmental management.
Ms Bish has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Applied Geology) (UTS, 1990), Masters of Applied Science (Hydrogeology and Groundwater Management) (UNSW, 1995) and Diploma in Business Management (AGSM, 2005).
Ms Bish has worked in the mining industry in Australia and overseas as a geologist and engineering geologist; with the variously named NSW Department of Water Resources, Department of Land and Water Conservation and Department of Natural Resources as a hydrogeologist and senior natural resources officer (water) developing and implementing natural resources policy, including water resource management plans and drought and salinity management plans, and undertaking investigations of and assessing impacts on groundwater and surface water systems throughout NSW; and with a leading engineering consultancy firm, Parsons Brinckerhoff, providing policy, planning and technical advice relating to hydrogeology, sustainable groundwater management, sustainable water resource management and environmental management.
Ms Bish has also worked as a water and sanitation engineer for UNHCR, Oxfam, UNICEF and UNDP, in a variety of countries, designing and developing water and sanitation facilities for refugees; a consultant hydrogeologist for UNHCR, UNICEF and UNDP assessing water supply conditions (both quantity and quality) for drinking and agricultural purposes; and as a senior WASH (water, sanitation and health) specialist for UNICEF designing and delivering climate change adapted WASH programmes and providing policy and technical advice on sustainable, integrated water resource management and environmental protection in various countries.
15 May 2017
I am pleased to announce that, after an extensive recruitment process, Ms Sarah Froh has been appointed as Registrar and Director of the Court. As you are no doubt aware the Court received a number of applications from highly qualified and experienced practitioners.
Ms Froh joins the Court from Henry Davis York where she is a Senior Associate with responsibility for leading a small team providing advice, representation and litigation with a focus on environmental, planning, development and local government law. Ms Froh is no stranger to the Court having appeared a number of times. Ms Froh has also appeared in matters in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the Federal Court of Australia.
Ms Froh graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from Macquarie University in 2003. She has practiced as a solicitor since 2004. She has lectured at University of Technology, Sydney since 2011 on contaminated land and its regulation.
In addition to her legal skills and experience, Ms Froh holds a Bachelor of Applied Finance and is also a director on the Australasian Land and Groundwater Association. Her budget and management skills will be of great value to the Court in the efficient management of the registry and liaison with the Department of Justice.
Ms Froh will commence duties on Monday 24 July 2017.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Leonie Walton for her excellent and professional service to the Court, once again, during this transitional period.
Tree Disputes Student Helpdesk28 March 2017 The Tree Disputes Student Helpdesk, a free service provided by University Students to provide procedural assistance to parties in tree dispute matters, is continuing throughout 2017. Read More.
Housing NSW's sales figures24 March 2017Housing NSW's medium sales figures for the September quarter 2016 are now available. Metro Rural
The Chief Judge has issued new practice notes for Class 1 Development Appeals, and Class 1, 2 and 3 Miscellaneous Appeals, and repealed the two practice notes by the same name made on 30 April 2007. The Conciliation Conference Policy has also been updated. The new practice notes and policy commence on Monday 27 March 2017.
The issue of the two new practice notes results in a number of changes to the procedure that applies to development appeals and miscellaneous appeals. Inter alia, the practice notes:
The new Conciliation Conference Policy differs from the earlier policy by:
The Chief Judge is pleased to announce the appointment of Joanne
Gray as a Commissioner of the Court from Tuesday 18 April 2017.
Ms Gray is an Australian lawyer, having practiced primarily in the court and justice sectors for 11 years. She has been a Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court of NSW and, since 2010, the Registrar of the Land and Environment Court. She has a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) (with Distinction) and a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) from the University of Wollongong. Ms Gray is a nationally accredited mediator. Ms Gray has extensive knowledge and experience of the Land and Environment Court and its work, including case managing, conciliating and adjudicating matters in Class 1, 2 and 3 of the Court’s jurisdiction.
The Tree Disputes Student Helpdesk, a free service provided by University Students to provide procedural assistance to parties in tree dispute matters, is continuing throughout 2017, with initial dates on January 20, 24 and February 3, 7, 17, 21. Read more.
Housing NSW's median sales prices23 December 2016Housing NSW's median sales prices for the June quarter 2016 are now available. Metro Rural
Annual Review14 December 2016The Court's Annual Review for 2015 is now available.
Leave of absence for Justice Pepper and Appointment of Professor Molesworth AO QC as an Acting Judge
7 December 2016
Justice Pepper will be taking leave of absence from the Court for 12 months from January 2017 to January 2018. Her Honour will chair the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing of Unconventional Reservoirs and Associated Activities in the Northern Territory.
Professor Simon Molesworth AO QC has been appointed an acting judge of the Court from 23 January 2017 to 31 December 2017. Professor Molesworth is one of Australia's leading barristers in planning and environmental law. After initially practising as a solicitor (from 1978), Professor Molesworth became a barrister in Victoria in 1984 and was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1995, specialising in environmental, planning, heritage, and natural resources law. He is a Vice Chancellor's Professorial Fellow at Monash University.
He has served previously as a senior legal member of the Planning Appeals Board and the Planning Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, forerunners to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, and as the State Mining Warden for Victoria. He was appointed first a Member and then an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to conservation and the environment, to heritage preservation at national and international levels, to the professions and natural resource sectors, and to community health organisations.
The Online Registry Website is changing! 30 November 2016
From 3 December 2016 the Online Registry website will have a new 'look and feel.' Watch the video of the new Online Registry website. Key changes include:
Judicial Officers and Decision Makers
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