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Beyond the Usual Argy Bargy – How Repeated Amendments to Class 1 Appeal Application Can Lead to General Costs Order

In the recent case of Statewide Planning Pty Ltd v Penrith City Council (No. 3) [2018] NSWLEC 109 (Statewide Planning), the Land and Environment Court (LEC) heard the Council’s Notice of Motion (NOM) for costs against the developer who had amended plans annexed to the Class 1 Appeal 11 times in the course of a Class 1 development appeal proceeding that lasted almost two years. The judge presiding the hearing for the NOM, Justice Sheahan, found: –

  • the conduct of the developer had gone beyond ‘the usual argy bargy’ between a party in Class 1 Appeal proceedings;
  • the developer should pay the Council’s legal costs in respect of the whole proceedings, in addition to any costs thrown away by reason of making those amendments; and
  • the Council was permitted to bring the NOM even though it was filed outside of the deadline permitted by the LEC’s Practice Note – Class 1 Development Appeals.
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Property Law changes to Off-the-Plan Contract

As of 2 November 2015, property law in New South Wales has changed in relation to off-the-plan contracts, giving purchasers increased protection which make it harder for developers to enact sunset clauses to cancel contracts. This applies to all contracts for sale, even those already entered into.

A sunset clause is traditionally included in an off-the-plan contract in order to allow a buyer or developer to rescind if completion has been delayed. However, some developers have been using abusing these clauses, intentionally delaying a project in order to cancel existing contracts and then resell to new buyers at a higher price to reflect the current market.

With the Conveyancing Amendment (Sunset Clauses) Act 2015 introducing s66ZL into the Conveyancing Act, developers must now provide purchasers with written notice of their intention to rescind no later than 28 days before the sunset date and specify why they are proposing to rescind the contract and the reason for the delay in creating the subject lot.
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