Tree disputes - How to start an appeal
1. Check your information
Check that you are making the right application (see Who can make an application?) and that you are making it at the right time.
2. Find the correct form
The Court has adopted specific forms for making applications under the Trees Act, as follows.
Application under s 7 of the Trees Act concerning damage to property or likelihood of injury to a person by a tree is to be made on the Tree Dispute Application form [Form C (version 3) (DOC , 119.5 KB)] and accompanied by a Tree Dispute Claim Details (damage to property or injury to a person) form [Form H (version 1) (DOC , 110.0 KB)].
Application under s 14B of the Trees Act concerning severe obstruction of sunlight or views by hedges is to be made on the Tree Dispute Application form [Form C (version 3) (DOC , 119.5 KB)] and accompanied by a Tree Dispute Claim Details (high hedges) form [Form G (version 1) (DOC , 99.5 KB)].
3. Check the fee
A court filing fee must be paid to commence the application. The amount of the filing fee depends on whether the person appealing is a natural person or a corporation. The range of filing fees is specified in the Schedule of court fees.
4. File the appeal
The application can be commenced by filing at least four copies of the completed Tree Dispute Application and the relevant Tree Dispute Claim Details form and paying the Court’s filing fee at the Court’s registry on Level 4, 225 Macquarie Street, Sydney or by posting at least four copies of the completed application and the filing fee to the court at GPO Box 3565, Sydney, NSW 2001. The required number of copies to be filed can vary: see Trees Act – Understanding the law. (DOC , 1004.0 KB)
Tree applications can also be filed via email by sending the completed application to the Court's dedicated tree application email address (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In addition, all Local Courts throughout New South Wales act as agents for the Land and Environment Court. Applications can be filed and the filing fee paid at any Local Court registry. The Local Court registry staff will give a receipt for the payment of the filing fee and will forward the papers to the Land and Environment Court for processing.
The Court will process the application at the Court’s registry. The application will be recorded in the Court’s record system and stamped as having been filed with the Court. The date, time and place for the preliminary hearing before the Court will be set and written by the Court’s staff on each of the four copies of the application. The preliminary hearing will usually be 4 to 6 weeks after the date of filing of the application.
The Court’s registry will keep one copy of the application for the Court’s file and return the other copies of the application to the applicant. One of the returned copies is for the applicant to keep, the second copy needs to be served on the neighbour on whose land the tree or hedge is situated and the third copy needs to be served on the council of the local government area in which the tree or hedge is situated. If the tree is listed as a heritage item, an additional copy needs to be served on the Heritage Council.
5. Serve the application
A stamped copy of the application needs to be served on the neighbour on whose land the tree or hedge is situated and the local council. The neighbour and local council need to be served at least 21 days before the preliminary hearing ( s 8(1) of the Trees Act).
The Court may also direct that the application be served on other persons than the neighbour (see s 8(2) of the Trees Act).. The Court has prepared a Guide for the service of documents (PDF , 68.3 KB) for self-represented litigants. The guide explains what is meant by service of documents and how this is to be undertaken.
6. Respondent appears
After the applicant serves the application on the neighbour and any other person directed by the Court, each person who wishes to participate needs to acknowledge service and register their desire to take part in the proceedings. This is known as filing a Notice of Appearance (DOC , 50.0 KB). The neighbour and other persons who wish to be involved need to complete and file with the Court, and serve on the applicant, a Notice of Appearance.