Government agencies (such as Transport for NSW, local councils etc) can acquire your land if it is required for a public purpose (road widening, line rail other infrastructure etc). It can be a stressful time for a property owner or occupier. There is a required negotiation period to go through before a proposed acquisition notice is issued. Once the acquisition is gazetted in the Government Gazette (Acquisition Notice), title is legally transferred, but the question of monetary compensation remains.

Alas the process doesn’t quite play out like in the iconic movie ‘The Castle’. No trotting off to Court to talk about the “vibe”.

The owner/occupier is definitively at a disadvantage in this process, as they suddenly find themselves up against a well-resourced government agency.

What many people don’t initially realise is that any legal expenses reasonable incurred by the landowner/occupier have to be paid (reimbursed) by the acquiring authority. That is, if you instruct a lawyer, the legal fees are a separate cost added on-top of your compensation and disturbance monetary amounts. If you don’t instruct a lawyer – then there is no claim for legal fees.

Hiring a lawyer does affect your compensation amount – but in a good way!

As legal fees are a separate amount on top of your compensation, having a skilled lawyer involved right from the get-go, usually pays a significant dividend in ensuring compensation is maximised.

Nothing to lose – but everything to gain. Call our expert Property & Planning Team to discuss your claim.

This article is not legal advice.  It is intended to provide commentary and general information only.  Access to this article does not entitle you to rely on it as legal advice.  You should obtain formal legal advice specific to your own situation.  Please contact us if you require advice on matters covered by this article.

Paul Jayne

Paul Jayne -


Environmental planning and property law specialist