Land and Environment Court of NSW

Development appeals - At the first directions hearing

Venue, date and time

The first directions hearing will usually be held around 28 days after the date the application was filed. It will be conducted before the registrar of the Court in a court at the Court’s building at 225 Macquarie Street, Sydney. The location of the Court and the precise time of the day when the directions hearing will occur will be shown on the Court Lists posted on a notice board in the foyer of the court’s building and on the court’s website under Court Lists in the afternoon of the day before the directions hearing. Information about the listing can also be seen:

Completed minute of proposed directions

The parties are to hand to the Court at the first directions hearing an agreed or their own versions of a minute of the directions they propose the Court should make to prepare the matter and facilitate the just, quick and cheap resolution of the appeal (paragraph 31 of the Practice Note (PDF , 150.9 KB)).

These directions should be based on the usual directions in the Practice Note (PDF , 150.9 KB):

If the parties do not agree, each party should prepare their own version of the directions they propose (paragraph 35 of the Practice Note (PDF , 150.9 KB)).

Arranging the conciliation

Development appeals and objector appeals are usually appropriate to be resolved through conciliation rather than at a court hearing. Conciliation is undertaken with a commissioner of the court, usually with knowledge of and expertise in the subject matter and issues raised in the appeal. Information is available on conciliation. The registrar will fix a conciliation conference, for short matters, before the Duty Commissioner on the next available Friday, or for other matters, within 14 days, subject to the availability of the Court and commissioners (paragraph 33 of the Practice Note (PDF , 150.9 KB)). The parties should also be in a position to advise the Registrar as to whether there are appropriate facilities for the conciliation conference to remain on the site of the development after an onsite view. If there are not appropriate facilities on the site, arrangements may have to be made for the conciliation to continue at council chambers or at the Land and Environment Court building.

If parties consider conciliation would not be appropriate for the particular appeal, they will need to give their reasons for that view to the registrar (paragraph 32 of the Practice Note (PDF , 150.9 KB)). The registrar may still direct a conciliation conference, after having considered the parties’ reasons.

Applying for leave to adduce expert evidence

This applies only if you are seeking a hearing date at the first directions hearing. Any party intending to adduce expert evidence at the hearing of any development appeal must apply for directions from the Court under Pt 31 r 31.19 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 permitting the adducing of expert evidence. 

The application for directions is to be made at a directions hearing at which the development appeal is listed for hearing.

The application is to be supported by a completed information sheet, outlining the issues in the proceedings, the experts whose opinion is sought to be adduced as evidence in the proceedings, and the areas of expertise of each expert. At the hearing of the application for directions, the party seeking directions is to explain the expert evidence sought to be adduced and why the use of that expert evidence should be permitted, including why that expert evidence relates to a real issue in the proceedings and is reasonably required to resolve that issue.

Completed information sheets

If the parties are seeking hearing dates, they are to hand to the Court their completed information sheets (paragraph 34 of the Practice Note (PDF , 150.9 KB)). These sheets assist the registrar to make directions that are appropriate to the particular circumstances of the matter and the particular parties.

Making and recording directions

The registrar will make directions, generally in accordance with the usual directions at the first directions hearing, including fixing the dates of the conciliation conference and the second directions hearing. The registrar will state the directions orally. It is important that the parties record the directions the registrar makes. A written copy of the directions made is not usually sent to the parties.

Last updated:

08 May 2023

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