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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. The will follow the exchange of schedules of losses attributable to disturbance and other financial costs, points of claim, points of difference, position papers and any lay evidence.
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Compulsory Acquisition – Recent Developments in relation to an “interest” in land

A recent decision of the Court of Appeal has provided further guidance on what is considered an “interest” in land for the purposes of the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (the Act).

In Dial A Dump Industries Pty Ltd v Roads and Maritime Services [2016] NSWCA 73 the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by Dial A Dump Industries (Dial A Dump) from the decision of the Land and Environment Court  in Dial A Dump Industries Pty Ltd v Roads and Maritime Services [2016] NSWLEC 39 dismissing its claim for compensation under the Act for the compulsory acquisition of the Alexandria Landfill site.

Land and Environment Court Decision

Land at St Peters was compulsorily acquired for the WestConnex Motorway in December 2014.

Section 37 of the Act provides that an owner of an interest in land that was divested, extinguished or diminished by compulsory acquisition is entitled to compensation.  The registered owner of the acquired land was Alexandria Landfill Pty Ltd, the land was leased to Boiling Pty Ltd (Boiling) and Dial A Dump used the land to operate a land fill.  Dial A Dump asserted that it had permission to use and occupy the land to operate a landfill and carry out crushing, grinding and separating works and commenced proceedings under s 67 of the Act to challenge the rejection of its claim for compensation by the acquiring authority.
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