We came before the Land and Environment Court (L&EC) on 24th June 2010 concerning a tree on a neighbour’s property, located some 2.9 metres from our home that was causing cracking to external and internal walls. When the judgement was handed down on 4th March 2011, some 10 months after the hearing, the Judge found that "the tree was innocent" despite the convictions of experts and the physical presence of a tree roots burrowing directly under our home.
Many remark justice is blind; pity those in her sway, shocked to discover she is also deaf. DAVID MAMET, Faustus
An erroneous judgement that has left us with no avenue of appeal. So a bit like a gambler chasing a win, we moved from one legal expert to another seeking a solution to what was initially a "small claim", expending over $200,000 of savings and borrowings and drawing down our superannuation to fund what has been a 5 year legal roller coaster ride to overturn the judgement. Ultimately, no legal expert could provide us with a definitive course of action in the face of “blind justice”.
The fact that damage to our property has continued to escalated in the period since judgement has many asking “if not the tree then what?”
Our journey through the L&EC jurisdiction should be a warning to others and calls into question the powers bestowed upon the L&EC by our legal system. Jocularly referred to by legal practitioners as “The Parks & Gardens Boys” or a “sheltered workshop” by its own peers, this court was established to keep neighbourhood disputes from congesting the “real” court system. This specialist enclave of the justice system has been imbued with significant powers, its judgements are deemed enduring and of equal standing to Supreme Court rulings and ultimately, the rights of the individual have been removed with no genuine appeal process available. We present the facts for your consideration.