Compulsory acquisition of land occurs when the government, a government body or a corporation acquires privately held land for some public benefit, while also compensating the owner of that land for the acquisition. Such arrangements can be compulsory or by mutual agreement.
Councils or development corporations will undertake land acquisition for example road widening. The power to acquire land will come from a legislative instrument such as the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (NSW) or the Roads Act 1993 (NSW). A Council wishing to widen a road will need to pass a resolution at one of its meetings to that effect, and also seek approval from the Minister for Local Government and his Department, before any action can be taken. The Council will contact the owner of the land and seek a mutual agreement on the acquisition. If no agreement is reached, the land can then be compulsorily acquired. The Council will give notice to the owner before obtaining title to that part of the land that is necessary for the road widening.
Valuation and Objections
The Valuer General will assess the value of the land that is being acquired by considering the market value of the land itself, the damage or loss to the rest of the land remaining in the owner’s possession and any other matters that may be relevant in the given circumstances of each case. The amount of compensation that an owner may receive pursuant to a valuation can be challenged at the NSW Land and Environment Court. This process may involve expert evidence.
An owner of land that is being compulsorily acquired can lodge an objection to the Council that is applying for the compulsory acquisition
Blunden & Montgomery can provide advice and legal representation to either party involved in land acquisition disputes. The services we provide include the following:
- Pre-acquisition negotiation strategies involving the authority applying for the acquisition of land;
- Advice concerning compensation entitlements under relevant statutory schemes;
- Preparation of appropriate compensation claims;
- Litigation of and/or defence to compensation claims;
- Obtaining relevant expert evidence, including property and business valuation;
- Court or Tribunal legal representation.
If you are involved in a dispute concerning compulsory acquisition, there may be a variety of important legal considerations that might need to be weighed up before any material steps are taken in your matter. We at Blunden & Montgomery have the skills and experience needed to guide any litigant who feels that his rights are being infringed.