Bick & Steele: Expert Compulsory Acquisition Lawyers


In Australia, certain Commonwealth and State authorities are authorised to compulsorily acquire land (including all interests in land) for public purposes (such as the construction of a new road or a hospital).

The regulatory frameworks set up under the Commonwealth Lands Acquisition Act 1989 and the NSW Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (Just Terms Act) operate in a broadly similar way.

Each Act establishes a procedural framework for notifying and negotiating with affected landowners.  In NSW, these procedural requirements have been updated as part of the NSW Government's response to the "Russell Review" into the Just Terms Act.

In each case, the compulsory acquisition of land gives rise to obligation for the acquiring authority to pay affected landowners "Just Terms" compensation. This is determined based on a range of prescribed factors including the market value of the land and certain 'disturbance costs' arising due to the acquisition.  

In NSW, the Valuer-General is tasked with determining the amount of "Just Terms Compensation" payable with respect to an acquisition. It is also open to a landowner to seek to negotiate a compensation amount directly with the acquiring authority.

Where agreement cannot be reached, and a landowner is dissatisfied with the amount of compensation determined to be payable by the Valuer-General, the landowner can commence a compensation appeal in the NSW Land and Environment Court

The Court will then determine the amount of compensation payable having regard to the available evidence which can include expert evidence in a range of disciplines including land valuation and town planning.  

Key steps in the NSW compulsory acquisition process

The  key steps in the typical NSW compulsory acquisition process are summarised in the following chart. 

How we can help

Based in Sydney, we assist clients across NSW with respect to compulsory acquisition matters. At Bick & Steele, we can help you by:

  • advising you of your statutory rights under the compulsory acquisition legislation;

  • representing you in negotiations over the amount of compensation payable in respect of an acquisition; and

  • representing you in any compensation appeal brought in the Land and Environment Court.

Our experience

Examples of projects with respect to which our Directors have demonstrated their experience advising on these matters can be found here.

Contact us

To see how we can help you, please contact us.