The controversial proposal to transform the Queensland Planning
& Environment Court from a jurisdiction where parties bear
their own costs to one where costs follow the event has been
abandoned by the Newman Government.
Whilst the Sustainable Planning and Other Legislation
Amendment Bill 2012 introduced into the Queensland Parliament
on 13 September 2012 proposed this landmark change to the costs
regime, strong opposition from peak industry bodies, including the
Queensland Environmental Law Association (QELA)
and the Urban Development Institute of Australia
(UDIA), led to a significant revision before the
legislation was passed on 13 November 2012.
Grounds for opposing the change included that it would deter
legitimate appeals, favour wealthy corporate entities that could
afford the risk of an adverse costs order, and clog up the Court
system by adding lengthy arguments about costs to the appeal
The Sustainable Planning and Other Legislation Amendment Act
2012 (Qld) (SPOLA) instead leaves the
question of costs to the discretion of the Court, but introduces a
range of factors the Court may have regard to in deciding whether
to impose an order for costs, including:
the relative success of the parties in the proceeding;
whether a party commenced or participated in the proceeding for
an improper purpose or without reasonable prospects of success;
whether a party has acted unreasonably.
The SPOLA amendments will only apply to proceedings brought
after its commencement, which is likely to occur within the next
couple of weeks.
At DibbsBarker, our
Planning & Environment Team are available to guide you
through the development assessment and appeal process to optimise
your prospects of a successful outcome that meets your commercial
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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