If you have commenced a case in the Class 3 jurisdiction of the Land and Environment Court concerning compulsory acquisition or a valuation appeal, it’s important to be aware of the process and what to expect going forward. While the process regarding compulsory acquisitions and valuation appeals may be daunting, being familiar with the Land and Environment Court while having the right environmental lawyers in Sydney can make a world of difference. Read on to see what you should be aware of and the process involved.
What is a Class 3 Case?
A Class 3 case can cover issues such as compulsory resumption, objections, and valuation appeals, overseen by a judge and potentially a commissioner.
Issues that can be dealt with in a Class 3 case include:
- Land market value
- Disturbance costs and future lost profits
- Land rezoning
- Objections regarding land valuations
- Compensation after land has been acquired
What is Compulsory Acquisition/Resumption in Class 3 Cases?
Compulsory acquisition is the acquisition of a property (or acquisition of an interest in land such as an easement for a lease) to a government agency or other acquiring authority. In some cases, if the affected party doesn’t receive any compensation, or the compensation is rejected and deemed to be insufficient, there is the option to resolve matters in the Land and Environment Court.
What are Valuation Objections in Class 3 Cases?
Valuation in Class 3 cases refers to bringing objections to the New South Wales Land and Environment Court over disagreements with the land value determined from the Valuer General’s decision.
This is an objection to the statutory valuation created by the Valuer General.
How Does the Legal Process of a Class 3 Case Begin?
The beginning of the legal process for a Class 3 case involves the preparation and filing of a Class 3 Application form, paying Court filing fees, filing the appeal, providing the appropriate documents, and serving the application. For compulsory land acquisition, you’ll need the Notice of Intention to Acquire the Land, the Claim for Compensation and the proposed acquisition notice from the acquiring authority, as well as a schedule of losses attributable to disturbance under Section 59 of the Just Terms Act and potentially a schedule of disturbance loss heads of a claim under Section 59(f) and any lay evidence.
With a valuation objection case, you’ll need a valuation notice, the letter of objection, and the response from the Valuer General to the objection.
What Does the Hearing of a Class 3 Case Involve?
For compulsory acquisition, the first directions hearing takes place four weeks after the application is filed. Short Minutes of Order need to be provided to the Court by the participants, while for valuation cases the applicant and Valuer General need to provide the Court with Valuation Objection information sheets.
For the second hearing, all participants are required to provide the court with their proposed short minutes of order for the progression of the matter. For compulsory acquisition cases, the estimates of hearing time must also be provided as well. The list judge will then make directions and all orders necessary for the final hearing, including the pre-trial hearing for compulsory acquisition cases.
The pre-trial hearing for compulsory acquisition involves all participants filing in court the necessary court book. They must then provide a schedule of properties for inspection by the court. Once these have been completed, directions are made by the court outlining the inspections of the property, the conduct of the hearing plus similar sales properties. For the final hearing, the land that will be valued along with similar properties may be inspected.
For valuation cases, the decisions made by the Court can include approving/disapproving the Valuer General’s decision, or making a decision itself. The Valuer General must then implement the decision from the Court, within sixty days from when the decision is handed down. Decisions for both types of cases can also be appealed.
Can a Class 3 Case be Resolved Without Proceeding to a Contested Hearing?
A Class 3 Case can be solved without litigation through conciliation, neutral evaluation, and mediation. Conciliation involves the participants working with a third party, ordinarily the Commissioner of the Court, to resolve all outstanding issues. For valuation cases, the Court will make a conciliation hearing mandatory after the first directions hearing.
Mediation and neutral evaluation for compulsory acquisition cases involve a similar process to conciliation and involve working with a mediator/evaluator to reach a settlement or an agreement without proceeding further with litigation.
Dealing with the legal procedures of a Class 3 case can be daunting and confusing but at Hones Lawyers, we’re here to simplify the process and ensure you get the result you require in the Land and Environment Court. For assistance with Class 3 cases or other enquiries regarding environmental law in Sydney, get in touch with us at (02) 8318 0788 or contact us here.