Land and Environment Court of NSW

Aboriginal land claims - How to start proceedings

1. Check Information

Check that the right applicant is making the right appeal, at the right time (see previous sections).

2. Find the right form

An appeal under s 36 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 is in Class 3 of the Court’s jurisdiction.   The appeal is to be commenced by a Class 3 Application ( Form B (version 2) ).

3. Check the fee

A court filing fee must be paid to commence the appeal. 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 appeal can be commenced by filing three copies of the completed Class 3 Application (together with a copy of the Minister’s refusal) and paying the Court’s filing fee at the Court’s registry on Level 4, 225 Macquarie Street, Sydney or by posting three copies of the completed application and payment of the filing fee to the Court at GPO Box 3565, Sydney, NSW   2001. 

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 first directions hearing before the Court will be set and written by the Court’s staff on each of the three copies of the application.  The first directions hearing will usually be 8 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 two copies of the application to the applicant.   One of the returned copies is for the applicant to keep and the other copy needs to be served on the Crown Lands Minister.

5.  Serve the application

A stamped copy of the application needs to be served on the Crown Lands Minister who is the respondent to the appeal, within 7 days of filing. The Court has prepared a guide for the service of documents for self-represented litigants (PDF , 68.3 KB).  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, the Crown Lands Minister needs to acknowledge service and register his or her desire to take part in the proceedings. This is known as filing a notice of appearance (DOC , 50.0 KB). The Crown Lands Minister needs to complete and file with the Court, and serve on the applicant, a notice of appearance.

Last updated:

08 May 2023

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