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

Court Vacation 2020-2021

26 November 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.

Superlists

26 November 2020

Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic the registrars have been case managing each matter through superlists to determine how that listing would be conducted. This has been done because the matters were listed before the Covid-19 Pandemic Arrangements Policy came into effect. Matters that have been listed after the Policy came into effect, which includes all matters listed from 1 January 2021, have been listed in accordance with the arrangements in the Policy, including determining the mode in which the matter will be conducted. In these circumstances,  there is no longer a need to case manage each matter so listed to determine how the listing should be conducted. As a consequence, the registrars will not continue to conduct the superlists. The type of listing and the mode by which it will be conducted will be determined in the normal course of the registrar’s daily call over list.

ADR Innovation of the Year Award

19 November 2020

The Chief Judge is pleased to announce that the Land and Environment Court of NSW has been awarded "ADR Innovation of the Year" by the Australian Disputes Centre at the fifth annual Australian Disputes Centre ADR Awards 2020.

The Australian Disputes Centre is 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.

In a year when, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, most courts and tribunals ceased to offer their ADR services, this Court quickly moved to undertaking conciliations and mediations remotely using telecommunication and digital platforms such as teleconferencing, AVL and Microsoft Teams. The "ADR Innovation of the Year" award recognises the Court's innovation in providing its ADR services this way. The rapid adoption of the Court's innovative approach to remote ADR was facilitated by the presumption that conciliation is the principal dispute resolution process in this Court.

Deployment of remote ADR during the COVID-19 Pandemic means that the Court has been better able to meet the changing needs of the community, thereby promoting and increasing public trust and confidence in the Court and its processes.

This is the Court's second Australian Disputes Centre ADR Award, with the first award being "Courts and Tribunals - ADR Group of the Year" in 2018.

The Court is proud to receive this award and to have its innovation in the practice of alternative dispute resolution recognised.

New Acting Commissioner Appointments

6 November 2020

The Chief Judge is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Alan Bradbury, Mr Paul Rappoport, Dr Gary Shiels, Ms Deborah Sutherland and Ms Emma Washington as Acting Commissioners of the Court for the period commencing 9 November 2020 and expiring on 8 November 2023.

Acting Commissioner Alan Bradbury

Mr Bradbury has over 38 years' applied experience as a practising lawyer in government and private practice, primarily in the area of planning and environmental law. He is an accredited specialist in planning and local government law and an accredited mediator. Mr Bradbury holds the degrees of Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from the University of Technology Sydney (1982) and Master of Environmental Law from Australian National University (ANU) (1997). Mr Bradbury has been actively involved in legal professional bodies. He has served as the ACT President and as the National President of the National Environmental Law Association, National President of the Australian Institute of Administrative Law and Chair of the ACT Environment Protection Technical Advisory Committee.

Acting Commissioner Paul Rappoport

Mr Rappoport has 31 years' applied experience as a heritage architect and planner. He holds the degrees of Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cape Town (1984) and Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Sydney (2008). He is currently enrolled in a PhD at University of Western Sydney. He is a registered architect by the NSW Architects Registration Board. Mr Rappoport has been involved in the assessment and management of many significant heritage buildings and places, including Sydney Town Hall, Central Station, St Andrews Cathedral, Customs House and is a member of the major societies and organisations involved with heritage in history in Australia and overseas.

Acting Commissioner Gary Shiels

Dr Shiels has 54 years' applied experience in town and country planning, traffic engineering and planning, and urban design. Dr Shiels' obtained a land engineering and survey drafting certificate (1970) and engineering surveying certificate (1972), both from Sydney Technical College. He was awarded a NSW Town and Country Planners' Certificate (1979) and a Queensland Town Planners' Certificate (1993). He holds the degrees of  Master of Urban Studies from Macquarie University (1978), Master of Engineering Science (Transportation Planning) from UNSW (1981), and Master of Urban Design from the University of Sydney (2000) and a Doctor of Philosophy from UNSW (2016) for his dissertation on "Planning for successful ageing in an age-friendly built environment". Dr Shiels has been actively involved in planning professional bodies. He has served as the NSW President, National President and President of the International Division of the Planning Institute of Australia and its predecessor the Royal Australian Planning Institute. Dr Shiels is a registered planner (Life Fellow) of the Planning Institute of Australia.

Acting Commissioner Deborah Sutherland

Ms Sutherland has over 30 years' applied experience as a planner in local government and private practice. She has a Bachelor of Town Planning (Honours) from the University of NSW (1978). Ms Sutherland has working in a full range of strategic and statutory planning roles. She has prepared strategic studies and plans (including local environmental plans and development control plans). Ms Sutherland has been the principal planner and project manager on many large development projects throughout NSW, including urban release, residential subdivision, seniors housing, aged care facilities, and residential apartment development. In 2013, Ms Sutherland's work as project leader and strategic and statutory planner on the Dee Why Centre Master Plan won an Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Award for Excellence in Government Leadership in Urban Development and a PIA NSW award and PIA National award. Ms Sutherland has been involved with planning and other professional bodies. She has served as a member of UDIA's Planning Standing Committee and the Australian Company Directors Institute Sustainability Committee.

Acting Commissioner Emma Washington

Ms Washington has 18 years' applied experience as a landscape architect. She holds the degree of Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (Honours) from the University of NSW (2004). She held Chartership with the Landscape Institute of the United Kingdom whilst she worked in the UK and is currently a senior registered landscape architect with the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA). Ms Washington has also completed a Master of Environmental Law at the University of Sydney (2019). Over her career, Ms Washington's design experience has focused on mid to high density residential/mixed use developments, open space, green infrastructure, schools and playgrounds, and more recently, strategic planning and urban design. Ms Washington has also lectured as a guest lecturer and sessional tutor in the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree program at the University of NSW. Ms Washington has been actively involved in professional bodies, including serving as the Secretary of the NSW Executive of AILA and as a NSW Awards Juror for AILA.

New Criminal Filings Email Address

14 October 2020

The Court has a new dedicated email address for criminal proceedings: LEC_criminalfilings@justice.nsw.gov.au.

Parties in Class 5, 6 and 7 criminal proceedings and appeals can now file summons, appeals, notices of motion and subpoenas and seek directions and access orders for subpoenas and notices to produce using the LEC_criminalfilings@justice.nsw.gov.au email address instead of LECourt@justice.nsw.gov.au.

Notices of Motion Before the Registrar

6 October 2020

The Court's use of Online Court is expanding to include the adjudication of Notices of Motion that are listed for return before the Registrar.

The default mode of listing of a Notice of Motion in Classes 1 and 2 will remain by telephone before the Registrar. However, parties can request to have a Notice of Motion listed for adjudication using Online Court or other means (by Teams or in person) if considered appropriate and in accordance with the Court's COVID-19 Pandemic Arrangements Policy.

Parties can request an alternative mode for the listing of Notice of Motion by:

  1. indicating the preferred mode of listing on the Notice of Motion (if not the default);
  2. submitting an Online Court request; or
  3. requesting an adjournment to an alternative mode of listing at the return of the Notice of Motion before the Registrar.

Observing Proceedings by Microsoft Teams

25 September 2020

The Court has published new information for members of the public that wish to observe Court proceedings conducted by Microsoft Teams. The procedure is available here.

2019 Annual Review

31 July 2020

The Court's Annual Review for 2019 is now available.

New Subpoena Practices Practice Note

21 July 2020

The Practice Note - Subpoena Practices dated 7 May 2015 has been replaced with a new Practice Note that explains the process for access and production of material through the eSubpoena portal.

The new Practice Note commences on 22 July 2020.

Judicial Newsletter

17 July 2020

Volume 12 Issue 2 (June 2020) of the Court's Judicial Newsletter is now available.

COVID-19 Pandemic Arrangements Policy

1 July 2020

The COVID-19 Pandemic Arrangements Policy is replaced by a new Policy effective from 8 July 2020. The new Policy sets out arrangements for the staged return to face-to-face attendances in Court and on-site. Link to the new policy.

Court Fee Increase

1 July 2020

Effective 1 July 2020 the Civil Procedure Amendment (Fees) Regulation 2020 and Criminal Procedure Amendment (Fees) Regulation 2020 has increased the Court's fees by 1.5%. The fee schedule is now available.

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.

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.

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.

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

24 March 2020

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.


Recent New​s​

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.

28 April 2020

Volume 12 Issue 1 (February 2020) of the Court's Judicial Newsletter is now available.

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.

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

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 Court has implemented measures to reduce the need for personal attendance by parties and keep the Court operational as far as possible.

Effective immediately:  

  • Parties in Classes 1, 2 (excluding tree dispute applications), 3, 4 and 8 are required to use Online Registry and Online Court whenever available.
  • Both Online Court and Online Registry will be operating 24 hours a day as normal and parties must avail themselves of these resources.
  • Applications, appeals, notices of motion and subpoenas must be filed by Online Registry where access is available.
  • Online Court is to 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 must seek directions and access orders for subpoenas and notices to produce using the lecourt@justice.nsw.gov.au email address.

Duty Lawyer Scheme

18 March 2020

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.


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