Commercial Litigation - Compulsory Acquisition Law

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Contact: Timothy FinemoreKathryn Finemore

Richmond and Bennison have a team of lawyers with expertise in dealing with compulsory acquisitions, led by the Firm's Managing Partner, Timothy Finemore.

Both landowners and business owners can be affected by a compulsory acquisition and our legal team can assist you in navigating a desirable outcome.

Compulsory acquisition by an acquiring body is governed by the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 (Vic). 
The process is commonly as follows:

1. Notice of intention to acquire an interest in land

The likely first step in the formal process of acquisition is the acquiring body will provide you with a Notice of Intention to Acquire. The purpose of this Notice is for the acquiring body to inform you of the legal basis for it to compulsory acquire your land and the reasons why the acquiring body requires your land.

The acquiring body will request that you provide information in relation to any other persons who may have an interest in the land (for example a business may lease a property situated on the land and that business will also be affected by the proposed compulsory acquisition).

At the time of receipt of the Notice of intention to acquire it is advisable to seek independent legal and valuation advice as you have an opportunity to allow the acquiring body to acquire the interest in the land by agreement. This would mean you would not proceed to the next step. If the interest in land is acquired by agreement it is to be treated as having been compulsorily acquired for the purpose of assessing any right to compensation.

2. Notice of acquisition

To formalise the acquisition the acquiring body publishes a Notice in the Government Gazette. This is referred to as a Notice of acquisition and this vests the land in the acquiring body's name. This Notice will be served on all persons affected by the acquisition.

3. Right to compensation

Subject to the Act, every person who, immediately before the publication of a Notice of acquisition, had an interest in land that is divested or diminished by the acquisition of the interest to which that notice relates has a claim for compensation.

In assessing compensation a claimant is entitled to, regard must be had to the following factors (a) the market value of the interest on the date of acquisition; (b) any special value to the claimant on the date of acquisition; (c) any loss attributable to severance;  (d) any loss attributable to disturbance; (e) the enhancement or depreciation in value of the interest of the claimant, at the date of acquisition, in other land adjoining or severed from the acquired land by reason of the implementation of the purpose for which the land was acquired; and (f) any legal, valuation and other professional expenses necessarily incurred by the claimant by reason of the acquisition of the interest.

The basic procedural steps involved in a compulsory acquisition once the claimant receives a Notice of acquisition is as follows:

  1. an acquiring body’s initial offer;
  2. a claimant’s response to offer (with or without) a notice of claim; and
  3. an acquiring body’s reply to a notice of claim .

If either party fails to respond to an offer or claim the matter can then be referred by either party to the Court as a “disputed claim”.  Our legal team has an envied reputation in representing claimants in disputed claims before the Court. We understand however that litigation can be time consuming and stressful for a claimant and we can assist you in reaching an outcome prior to the acquisition becoming before the Courts.

For more information please contact our lawyers below.

Contact

Timothy Finemore
Special Counsel
Accredited Specialist in Commercial Litigation
Phone: (03) 9670 0488
Email: tfinemore@richbenn.com.au

Kathryn Finemore 
Lawyer
Accredited Specialist in Commercial Litigation
Phone: (03) 9670 0488
Email: kfinemore@richbenn.com.au