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If your home or property from which you conduct your business in NSW is the subject of compulsory land acquisition due to the construction of tunnel, rail, motorway or any other infrastructure, Hones Lawyers is able to assist with ensuring you receive adequate compensation under the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991, and your rights are protected throughout the entire process.

Our firm of compulsory acquisition lawyers has successfully settled a number of compulsory acquisition matters in NSW prior to litigation, and we pride ourselves on a high success rate in achieving the best and fairest results for our clients.

What to expect if your land is being acquired:

  1. The acquiring authority will notify you of its intention but first will try to reach an agreement through negotiation.
  2. If an agreement cannot be reached, you will receive a proposed compulsory acquisition notice.
    This notice provides specific details on dates and means that you are unable to sell the property.
  3. After the notice is received, the government body typically has 90 days to proceed with its compulsory acquisition proposal.

During this process, you will be offered compensation for your property (which is payable under the Just Terms Compensation Act 1991). Hones Lawyers is able to assist with developing counterclaims as well as claiming the expense of legal and valuation fees throughout this process.

How is compensation calculated?

There are a number of factors such as the market value of the land, town planning issues, the time in which the property has been occupied, relocation costs as well as other points specific to the situation.

Contact Hones Lawyers today on 02 8318 0788 to see how we can assist with your compulsory acquisition matter.

Overview of The Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991

The Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (Just Terms Act) was put in place to ensure that the land acquisition process is done correctly and fairly. This includes: 

  • Guaranteeing that the amount of compensation will be not less than the market value of the land (unaffected by the proposal) at the date of acquisition
  • Ensuring compensation on just terms for the owners of land that is acquired by an authority of the State when the land is not available for public sale
  • Establishing new procedures for the compulsory acquisition of land by authorities of the State to simplify and expedite the acquisition process
  • To require an authority of the State to acquire land designated for acquisition for a public purpose where hardship is demonstrated
  • To encourage the acquisition of land by agreement instead of compulsory process

The Just Terms Act applies to the acquisition of land by an authority of the State which is authorised to acquire the land by compulsory process.

However, the Just Terms Act does not apply when: 

  • The land is available for public sale and the land is acquired by agreement
  • The land is repealed (revoked)
  • The acquisition involves taking over a mortgage, charge or any similar security
  • The acquisition consists of an interest in land which is acquired otherwise than by agreement or compulsory process
  • The acquisition consists of the revocation of exclusive rights of burial that have been granted under an Act in relation to a public cemetery

The legislation covers further details such as specific pre-acquisition, acquisition & post-acquisition procedures, and other important information such as determining compensation.

Overview of legal definitions in this Act:

  • Acquisition of land means: an acquisition of land or of any interest in land.
  • Compulsory acquisition of land: the acquisition of the land by compulsory process under this Act.
  • Interest in land:  a legal or equitable estate or interest in the land, or  an easement, right, charge, power or privilege over, or in connection with, the land
  • Owner of land: any person who has an interest in the land.
  • Public purpose: any purpose for which land may by law be acquired by compulsory process under this Act.

Compulsory Acquisition FAQs

Who can purchase my land through compulsory acquisition?

Whether you want to sell or not, government and quasi-government bodies in NSW are able to compulsorily acquire private land, or part of a property, for a public purpose. This includes state-owned corporations such as water suppliers, the state roads authority and transport network provider.

How long do I have to negotiate the terms of a compulsory purchase?

The Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act provides a minimum period of 6 months for the acquiring authority and landowner to reach an agreement before a Proposed Acquisition Notice is served. Hones Lawyers can provide advice on compensation and claiming expenses related to valuation and legal fees during this process.

Am I entitled to any help with legal fees during a compulsory acquisition?

Yes – in most cases, the government will pay your legal fees associated with the acquisition process, including any costs of proceedings in the Land & Environment Court. Whatever stage you are at in the compulsory land acquisition process, contact the experienced lawyers at Hones for specialist advice.

What factors are taken into account for compensation for compulsory land acquisition?

Property owners should be compensated fairly, on the principle of ‘just terms’. There are a number of factors taken into account for compensation such as the market value of the land, any special value of the land, whether a business may be impacted, relocation costs and other points specific on a case by case basis.

It is advisable that property owners engage their own valuer, legal representation and other applicable experts, with the costs associated with these services being included in any compensation claim.

Has Hones Lawyers had success with compulsory acquisition matters historically?

Our specialist lawyers have been successful in negotiating a number of compulsory acquisition of land matters in NSW before they went to litigation. For matters that proceed to the Land & Environment Court, we pride ourselves on achieving the best outcomes for our clients with an over 90% success rate.

Which lawyers will I be speaking with at Hones regarding compulsory acquisition?

Compulsory land acquisition in NSW is an area of expertise for Jason Hones and Gavin Shapiro, both partners at Hones Lawyers. Jason has been in the legal industry since 1993 and Gavin has over 10 years of experience in Environment & Planning Law and Local Government Law. They are both ably assisted by Lesley Finn, an accredited specialist in Local Government and Town Planning Law with over 30 years of experience in planning and compulsory acquisition matters. Contact us today to speak with one of our lawyers.

What is land resumption/compulsory acquisition?

Land resumption is the process by which governments—federal, state, or local— acquire privately owned land for public purposes. For example, it can be for power-line easements or for roads or rail. There is a strict legal process that must be followed. There will also be significant consultation before any final decision on resuming your land is made.

Can the government acquire my land in NSW?

In NSW, the Commonwealth and State governments (including state-owned enterprises) have the power to acquire privately owned property for public use. They have the ability to acquire all or part of your property.

Can you fight compulsory acquisition?

Only in very limited cases are there grounds to stop an acquisition. However, it is possible to challenge the amount of compensation that the government offers to pay you for your land. You can do this even though the government will provide you with a valuation prepared by the Valuer-General.

Hones Lawyers can assist in making sure you get fair compensation and that your rights are safeguarded throughout the process.

Get In Touch

    Get In Touch
    hones lawyers phone call and website enquiry

    Contact us by phone or using our website enquiry form with information on your matter. Providing enough information in this part of our process will allow us to get back in touch with you regarding your options.

    hones lawyers client meet up and interview

    Whether it’s in person, over the phone or by Skype – this will allow us to ask any questions we might have regarding your matter and will allow us to build a better working relationship.

    hones lawyers strategy and solution

    At this point we should have enough information in order build a strategy to move forward with (or in some cases, various strategies).

    Our Compulsory Land Acquisition Lawyers

    managing partner jason hones

    Jason Hones

    partner gavin shapiro

    Gavin Shapiro

    special counsel lesley finn

    Lesley Finn