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UTSG Pty Ltd v Sydney Metro (No 6) [2020] NSWLEC 63

A recent Land and Environment Court claim brought in respect of Class 3 proceedings to determine the compensation payable for the compulsory acquisition of a leasehold interest has resulted in the determination that the applicant be awarded nil compensation taking when into consideration outstanding occupation fees, as well as an order for a non-party cost against the director of the applicant company.

In late 2016, Sydney Metro served a Proposed Acquisition Notice on UTSG Pty Ltd (“UTSG”) in respect of its leasehold interest in premises located in Park Street, Sydney, for the purposes of construction of the Sydney Metro – City and South West Project. Sydney Metro had already acquired the freehold interest in the Park Street property, and advised UTSG they required vacant possession of the property by April 2017 and that rent remained payable for occupation of the premises. Rent remained at the amount previously paid by UTSG, being $31,402 per month (plus GST of $3,140) to be paid to Sydney Metro.
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New Land and Environment Court Class 3 Compensation Claims Practice Note

On 15 March 2019, the Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales issued a new Practice Note for Class 3 Compensation Claim proceedings relating to the acquisition of land. The purpose of this new practice note was to implement a significant change to the way in which compensation proceedings are managed. More specifically, the new practice note is better aimed at facilitating just, quick and cheap resolutions of what can often be very complex compensation cases.

Change 1 – Earlier Conciliation conferencing

The biggest change in the practice note is that conciliation conferencing will be one of the initial procedural steps undertaken prior to preparation of expert evidence. The old practice note provided that conciliation conferences were to take place approx. 16 weeks after the initial directions hearing, following preparation of all of the expert evidence and relevant pleadings. Under the new practice note, parties should now expect to attend a conciliation conference approx. 4 weeks after the initial directions hearing.
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Prefabricated Buildings Pty Ltd v Bathurst Regional Council (No.2) [2017] NSWLEC 111

Background

On 24 April 2017 judgment was delivered in Prefabricated Buildings Pty Ltd v Bathurst Regional Council [2017] NSWLEC 44 dismissing a Class 3 application brought by Prefabricated Buildings Pty Ltd (‘Prefabricated Buildings’) appealing against a rates notice issued by Bathurst Regional Council (‘Council’). The appeal was brought pursuant to s 574(1) of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) (‘Act) and related to an annual rates notice issued for water and sewerage services.

A summary of that case by our Local Government specialists can be found here.

Council’s Notice of Motion for costs

On 10 May 2017, Council filed a Notice of Motion seeking an order that Prefabricated pay its costs in the proceedings, including the costs of the Motion. The case of Prefabricated Buildings Pty Ltd v Bathurst Regional Council (No.2) [2017] NSWLEC 111 deals with this Motion.

At the Motion, Robson J considered at whether a departure from the presumptive rule that each party bears its own costs is warranted and whether it is fair and reasonable in the circumstances to award costs. He looked at whether the applicant acted unreasonably and whether proceedings were solely centred on a question of law.
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