Council legal battle win
CENTRAL Highlands Regional Council has had some good news after winning the right to appeal a Queensland Supreme Court ruling the council pay $852,205.50 in damages to Geju Pty Ltd.
The initial ruling, handed down on December 13, 2016, found there had been a clerical error in which the certificate issued to the purchaser of a block of land in Capella showed the wrong lot number and therefore the wrong zoning.
This decreased the value of the land significantly.
The error was not picked up by the purchaser or their lawyers.
Other evidence heard at the trial showed the real estate agent at the time had the correct information - that it had a rural zoning over it with a permit to rezone to industrial with conditions - but the real estate agent, who had 25years' experience in the industry, failed to inform the purchaser of this information.
Zoning changes were approved with conditions by Peak Down Shire Council in early 2008 and when amalgamation took place later that year the issue rested with CHRC.
The Court of Appeal on March 16 decided there was cause for the Queensland Supreme Court's ruling to be challenged.
"The judgment was for damages representing loss sustained by the respondent in purchasing vacant land at Capella... in reliance upon a negligent misrepresentation in a limited planning and development certificate,” Court of Appeal Justice Hugh Fraser said.
After considering all the facts, Justice Fraser allowed the appeal "upon the ground that the appellant did not owe the respondent the alleged duty of care”.
Justice Fraser also indicated that during the appeals process, if the council was found to have a duty of care, he would recommend damages be shared between the council and Anne Murray & Co (solicitors for original purchaser Mayfair Group).
A date for the appeal is yet to be confirmed.