News & Blog Posts · Access to Justice

Developer has to pay submitters court costs

18 July, 2014

Mr Bruce Ham who opposed a multi-dwelling development in Toowong gained improvements in conditions of approval. Mr Ham, in successfully opposing the developer’s costs application, was represented by barrister Mr James Dillon.

Jo Bragg, Principal Solicitor of EDO Qld said, "This decision is good news for community submitters. Judge Wall in the Planning and Environment Court decided that Mr Ham raised properly arguable, bona fide matters of town planning relevance and succeeded in changing a number of conditions of approval.

"Judge Wall rejected the costs application by the developer. Instead the developer was ordered to pay costs of that unsuccessful application for costs.

"But the ongoing issue is that we need restoration of the old general costs rule that each side pays his or her own Court costs that applied until late 2012.

"The statistics show this worked well and community litigants used the courts responsibly. Planning and environmental courts are special public interest bodies where it is important to have community access to justice.

"Many genuine community litigants are scared to go to the Planning and Environment Court due to changes to the costs rules that went through in 2012."

Read EDO Qld's submission on the 2012 Bill that changed the long standing rule in the Planning and Environment Court that parties bear their own costs (the ‘own costs’ rule) here.

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) gives a strong legal voice to the environment when needed most.