A Qld Court has again confirmed that:

Compensation should be ‘resolved in favour of a more liberal estimate.’  Where practicable, discretion should be exercised in favour of the claimant to achieve a just result.

The Court’s function in assessing compensation is to find a figure which represents adequate compensation to the landowner for the loss of their land.  The value of land is determined by applying the Spencer test – the price that would be agreed by willing, but not anxious, hypothetical buyer and seller. The value of land includes its “future advantages and potentialities.”

If there is a dispute about whether the asserted highest and best use for valuing the land would be approved or on what conditions, the Court’s function is clear. The Court is not required to decide, as a fact, whether the planning authority would approve the use or the conditions of approval. The Court must decide how a hypothetical prospective developer would have viewed the potential to use the land for that purpose in settling on the sale price.

…. Desbois v Chief Executive, Department of Transport and Main Roads [2021] QLC 43 (16 December 2021)

In Commissioner of Succession Duties (SA) v Executor Trustee & Agency Co of SA Ltd (1947) 74 CLR 358, it was held that compensation should be “resolved in favour of a more liberal estimate”.

This principle was reaffirmed McBarron v Roads & Traffic Authority NSW (1995) 87 LGERA 238 at 244 – 245.  In this case, Talbot J expressed that “it is appropriate to seek to do justice by adopting a generous approach in favour of the resume that just compensation is paid so far as the Act allows.  Therefore, any discretion should be exercised in favour of the claimant where practicable in order to achieve a just result.”

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