The Land and Environment Court (“LEC”) is a specialist environmental court in New South Wales. Amongst other things, the LEC hears development application appeals. Applicants can appeal their development application if they are not satisfied with the outcome of the application or if Council has failed to make a determination within 40 days (deemed refusal). Two common reasons an applicant will appeal to the LEC are timing and objectivity.
Councils are often flooded with development applications and waiting patiently for them to get to yours is oftentimes unfeasible. You may have high holding costs for sites or you may have an option to purchase a property which expires sometime in the not so distant future. The LEC operates under the view that court proceedings should be resolved in a just, quick and cheap way. In terms of how that translates to the real world, the Court sets a formal timetable for the resolution of the appeal and the parties are expected to stick to that timetable. Having a formal timetable provides applicants much greater certainty over the determination of their development application when there are competing time constraints.
Another reason you might wish to appeal to the LEC is that decisions about whether an issue with a proposed development is a real issue are made on the basis of expert opinions and evidence. The LEC provides a mechanism for the party’s experts to confer in an effort to reach agreements. Further, the Court is objective and impartial. If your development application is suitable on its merits and evidence can support this, then personal or political inclinations should not impact the determination of your appeal. Many applicants of development applications who feel hard done by the decisions of Councils are comforted by how the LEC is a platform for reaching an evidence based, just outcome.
There are countless other reasons why applicants appeal to the LEC, including the availability of dispute resolution options, the opportunity to obtain a formal statement comprising Council’s issues with the proposal and opportunities to meet with Council and its experts to resolve and narrow issues and explore alternative schemes worthy of approval.
Contact us for a complimentary discussion about whether appealing to the LEC is the right move for you.