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At Stacks/The Law Firm Ballina we provide expert and cost effective conveyancing services and property law advice. We pride ourselves on our reputation for being a Firm that keeps everyone involved well informed about the transaction and getting the job done promptly and smoothly.
Stacks/The Law Firm in Ballina has acted on behalf of a local family in a successful application brought against their neighbours in the Land and Environment Court under the recently amended Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006. This is one of only a few such matters that has proceeded to judgment in the Northern Rivers of NSW.
It was our client’s claim that their neighbours had planted a row of trees which severely blocked their ocean view. The claim was strongly contested by the neighbour but the Commissioner found that a view had been severely obstructed and orders were made for the neighbours to remove vegetation and to abide by a tree height restriction into the future.
As any solicitor knows disputes between neighbours can be very difficult and emotional. In the past hedges and trees have been deliberately used in “revenge” against, for example, an unwanted development next door. Other times it seems that problems are caused by a neighbour simply being unreasonable and inconsiderate when planting and maintaining trees. Blocking of views and sunlight and debris falling across boundaries are common complaints. Prior to this new law there was very limited legal redress for property owners affected. The frustration this caused resulted in some severe outcomes including physical altercations between neighbours.
The intention of the changes was to provide “a simple, inexpensive, and accessible process for resolving neighbour disputes about trees”. The Commissioners that hear the matters are generally qualified arborists and the hearing is to be conducted on site and be heard within a couple of hours with judgment to be delivered on the same day. However if you read the judgments available on the Court website it is obvious that many of these disputes have not been simple nor inexpensive with complex legal argument being advanced by parties generally instructing solicitors and even Barristers, supported by a raft of experts including architects, arborists and “visual impact assessors”. With the greatest of respect to the Court it would seem that most unfortunately the intent of the legislation to provide a simple inexpensive process has been defeated by the Court’s decision in its consideration and judgements to apply complex legal and planning principles which it more appropriately utilises in its general jurisdiction. There is scope for a review of this legislation and perhaps these matters should at first instance be handled by local government officers and community justice centres to reduce costs and complexity.
It is our recommendation that any individual suffering problems with neighbours trees should seek legal advice before attempting to utilise the current process.
BTS has over the last 2 years carried out a massive amount of work to restructure its operations. This was in response to the Federal Government's drive to modernise Aboriginal organisations and to ensure more professional and efficient delivery of funded services. BTS has now been award a "PARS" accreditation which means it is now one of the leading Aboriginal organisations in NSW which will have a massive benefit to its local members of Bundjalung Nation.
Stacks/The Law Firm in Ballina is very proud to have assisted BTS and to be associated with the organisation.
This is a great resource for clients involved in litigation in Victoria as it enables the solicitor with carriage of the matter to attend without the need to incur costs in travelling, or by engaging counsel.
These facilities permit solicitors to file documents electronically and assist the Court in facilitating the orderly conduct of the matter. Again, this can all be done from the office (or anywhere with an internet connection) and provides our clients with significant cost savings as we are not obliged to travel to court or engage counsel to appear on behalf of our client.
A person who had been successful in obtaining Letter of Administration for an estate had then been dishonest in his dealings with the assets of the estate. The beneficiaries had received nothing, and the funds were gone (including the proceeds of a sale of a house).
It would seem a pretty simple matter that the administrator (who fills the role of executor when there is no Will, or as in this case, where the executor of the Will had died) shoudl eb removed,a dn teh beneficiaries given the power to get the assets back.
In some ways it is that simple - but . . . the appointment of an executor or administrator by the Court is very serious, the appointment makes that person an officer of the Court and the Court does not release them lightly.
We finally received judgment in favour of the beneficiaries and are now setting about recovering the assets!
This type of purchase is for the home only NOT the land and there is thus NO stamp duty payable. However as it is a "home" the first home buyers grant is available.
This type of housing is already quite cheap compared to traditional housing. With no stamp duty payable and the addition of a $7000 grant it becomes even more so.
We invite client's who require assistance in this regard to contact us.
The breaches of ADVO were also breaches of a section 9 Good Behaviour Bond. The history of his relationship with his wife, the person in need of protection, was tumultuous to say the least, with each being charged with assault against the other (the wife on two occasions and our client on one) and each being the person in need of protection on reciprocal ADVOs. They had 3 children together who were also listed as PINOPs on the father’s order against the mother.
The father first sought my advice when he had been charged with just 2 breaches arising from one incident. The day before we were set to go to Court for these 2 offences he was charged with another breach and was arrested. He was refused bail by police and remanded to appear before the Local Court the next day. We were able to get bail and we had the fresh matter set down for sentence on the same day as the previous 2 matters so that they could all be dealt with together and he did not have to re-appear before the same Magistrate with a ‘further’ breach. At this stage, given the number of offences and the fact that he was on a GBB at the time, my client was understandably concerned that he would be in custody over Christmas and would not be able to see his children. I remained hopeful that we would get the benefits of the Court’s discretion and was aiming for a s. 12 suspended sentence.
Then again on the day before the 3 matters were set down for sentence my client telephoned me from custody: he had been charged with another 2 breaches of ADVO. He was refused bail by both police and the Court. I sought to have these 2 matters set down for hearing at the same time as the previous 3 matters for the aforementioned reasons. At this stage both he and I were preparing for the worst. However, after an extended plea before the Local Court Magistrate, my client was sentenced to a further s. 9 Good Behaviour Bond for the period of 2 years with supervision by Probation and Parole Services. Needless to say, he was extremely happy and relieved and gave me a bottle of one of the finest Penfolds red wines as a token of his gratitude! I have no doubt that he would have received a much more severe penalty if I had not had all of the matters listed for sentence at the same time.
In the course of the proceedings for damages against the doctor, the client sought a declaration from the workers compensation insurer that payments made to him pursuant to the Act were not repayable pursuant to Section 151Z.
The workers compensation insurer advised us that they considered they had a right of recovery for all weekly compensation benefits and medical expenses paid pursuant to Section 151Z (1) (d) of the Act and would be pursuing recovery of these.
In reply we wrote to the insurer and advised there have been a series of Court of Appeal decisions which have found that in this situation Section 151Z (1) (d) does not operate to allow the workers compensation insurer to recover the payments it has made.
In Hood Constructions Pty Limited v Nicholas  NSWLR 60 the court stated that the injury caused by the medical treatment was not "an injury for which compensation is payable" within the meaning of Section 151Z, notwithstanding the fact that the surgery was undertaken to remedy an injury sustained in the court of employment. The court went on to find that the worker's damages against the doctor were to be reduced to take into account the compensation payments already received.
This was confirmed in the matter of Rooty Hill Medical Centre Pty Limited v Gunther  NSWCA 60. The court of appeal confirmed that Section 151Z of the Workers Compensation Act did not apply and the plaintiff’s damages had to be reduced to give effect to the overriding intention of parliament that a worker should not be entitled to both compensation and damages.
The workers compensation insurer then conceded that Section 151Z did not apply in this case and they would not be pursuing any recovery from our client. This was important as we were then able to advise our client on his likely damages if he was successful in the claim.
There was a great meal put on afterwards by the Ballina RSL and it was great to spend time afterwards getting to know the local attendees and discussing their needs.
Thanks very much to the organisers and attendees and in particular Mr Mark McGregor, Financial Planner, Suncorp Bank Ballina.
As our firm continues to expand and our workload increases we are looking to recruit an experienced litigator to join the team in our Bowral office.
If you know anyone looking for legal work in the Southern Highlands please pass on this link http://www.seek.com.au/Job/solicitor-5yr-pae-full-time-or-part-time/in/goulburn-southern-tablelands-goulburn-southern-tablelands/21127013
Whilst more involved then applying for Probate where there is a Will, they are usually pretty straight forward. Not in this case . . .
In this case there were no surviving spouse, children or parents . . . which means brothers and sisters were to inherit! However, out of this persons 5 siblings, 4 had already died - 2 within 2 weeks of him, one of those without a Will!
Well - what a mess!!!
Added to that one of the beneficiaries cannot be found!!!
I am very proud to say that we achieved administration for the family without the need to refer the matter to the NSW Trustee & Guardian, the estate has been administrated.
I was so proud of both myself and my team I even came back from maternity leave to see the end result with my own eyes!