The Trees Act states that the Court cannot make an order in relation to a tree or a hedge unless it is satisfied that the applicant has made a reasonable effort to reach agreement with the neighbouring owner of the land on which the tree or hedge is situated (see s 10(1)(a) and s 14E(1)(a) of the Trees Act). Hence, if the applicant has not already done so, the applicant should make a reasonable effort to reach agreement with the neighbour before the preliminary hearing.
The Practice Note requires the parties to the application to take certain steps before the preliminary hearing as follows.
CONSIDER WHETHER TO USE EXPERT EVIDENCE
The parties are to consider whether they propose to rely on expert evidence so that they are able to advise the Court at the preliminary hearing and the Court can make appropriate directions for filing and serving of the evidence; and
DISCUSS AND AGREE ON DIRECTIONS
The parties are to discuss and endeavour to agree upon the directions which the Court should make at the first directions hearing.
These directions should be based on the usual directions on the preliminary hearing for tree applications in
Schedule A to
Practice Note. If the parties do not agree, each party should prepare their own version of the directions they propose.