Purpose and jurisdiction
The Court’s purpose is to safeguard and maintain:
- the rule of law
- equality of all before the law
- access to justice
- fairness, impartiality and independence in decision making
- processes that are consistently transparent, timely and certain
- accountability in its conduct and its use of public resources
- the highest standards of competency and personal integrity of its judges, commissioners and support staff.
The Court has an appellate and a review jurisdiction in relation to planning, building, environmental, mining and ancillary matters.
Jurisdiction is exercised by reference to the subject matter of the proceedings. This may involve matters that have an impact on community interest as well as matters of government policy. The Court has summary criminal jurisdiction and appellate criminal jurisdiction in relation to environmental offences.
The Court Act provides for the following eight classes of jurisdiction in the Court.
- Aboriginal land claims
- Claims for compensation for compulsory acquisition of land
- Land valuation appeals
- Miscellaneous appeals
The court's place in the Court system
NSW court system - criminal jurisdiction
* Appeals to the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal are in relation to proceedings in Classes 5, 6 or 7 of the Land and Environment Court’s jurisdiction.
** Appeals from the Local Court of New South Wales to the Land and Environment Court are with respect to an environmental offence under the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 and are in Classes 6 and 7 of the Land and Environment Court’s jurisdiction.
NSW court system - civil jurisdiction
* Appeals to the NSW Court of Appeal are in relation to proceedings in Classes 1, 2, 3, 4 or 8 of the Land and Environment Court’s jurisdiction.
Cross vested jurisdiction
Proceedings may be transferred between the Supreme Court and the Land and Environment Court.
In civil proceedings, there is capacity for either the Supreme Court or the Land and Environment Court to transfer proceedings to the other court if it is more appropriate for the proceedings to be heard by the other court (see s 149B of the Civil Procedure Act 2005). The Court to which the proceedings are transferred is vested by the transfer with all of the jurisdiction of the transferor court with respect to the proceedings (s 149E of the Civil Procedure Act 2005).
For proceedings in Classes 5-7, the Supreme Court also has the power to transfer any proceedings commenced or purporting to have been commenced in the Supreme Court to the Land and Environment Court if the Supreme Court is of the opinion that the proceedings could or should have been commenced in the Land and Environment Court ( s 72 of the Court Act).