The Land and Environment Court operates in a specialist jurisdiction dealing with cases that relate to mining, planning, the environment, local government and development. The Land and Environment Court was established by legislation and can only deal with matters that fall within its jurisdiction.
Most environmental proceedings within NSW can be enforced through civil proceedings in the courts, particularly the Land and Environment Court where there is an alleged breach of an environmental law.
Civil action in the courts can be used to obtain court orders to prevent environmental harm from occurring which is beneficial as often in criminal proceedings, legal action is reactive and taken after harm has already been caused. For example an injunction can be sought in the Land and Environment Court to prevent an incident that would cause environmental harm.
Examples of actions that may be undertaken in the Land and Environment Court include:
- Where a developer breaches conditions of their development consent