Phillip Leaman is a property and commercial lawyer and an accredited Business Law Specialist. He has acted for land owners, developers and business tenants in a substantial amount of compulsory acquisition matters on projects such as East West Link, Level Crossing Removal Project, Sky Rail, Melbourne Metro Rail Project, Dandenong to Caulfield Voluntary Purchase Scheme, West Gate Tunnel, council acquisitions for public open space and other projects.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Phillip recently to discuss key challenges and opportunities facing the industry today.
You can find the full Q&A below.
Phillip, please tell us about your practice including the types of matters you are currently working on and the most interesting matter of the last 12 months?
The matters I have been involved with include compulsory and voluntary acquisitions for the Skyrail Dandenong to Caulfield project, Level Crossing Removal Project and Melbourne Metro Rail Project for affected land owners and commercial tenants. The most interesting matter involved dealing with an authority in respect to a large development site and the potential for that site to be temporarily occupied for a significant period of time.
Your presentation will cover “Compulsory Acquisition and Compensation: Types of Compensation Available and Emerging Issues” Who is affected by Compulsory Acquisition, why these types of cases come under the spotlight in Melbourne and why compensation sometimes fall short?
Those affected include owners and tenants of land within defined project areas for public infrastructure and transport projects.
In response to why these types of matters have come under the spotlight, there are several large scale projects occurring in Victoria which affect directly and indirectly affect a large number of owners, businesses and residents.
Compensation can sometimes fall short as it is not always easy to replace a property with like for like as affected owners and tenants usually need to look outside their current area in order to secure a new premises which can mean looking in different property markets with different values and supply being limited by the competition of other affected owners also looking for replacement property.
Is there one tip you can give lawyers who are representing a client on the other end of a compulsory acquisition claim to make the process easier?
Be upfront and realistic with what a client can claim and where possible seek pre-approval from an Authority for reimbursement of professional expenses for experts. This will help ensure that clients are not left out of pocket in obtaining appropriate advice.
Are there any compulsory acquisition and compensation cases, reforms/ developments or legislation on the horizon that you think practitioners should keep on their radar?
There are several projects across Victoria in the planning stages and lawyers need to be aware of these when acting for purchasers and developers. Some projects have two tiered compensation schemes, compulsory acquisitions under the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act and Voluntary Purchase Schemes which are for those in designated affected areas outside the immediate impact zone for projects.
You can hear more from Phillip at the Property Law Symposium seminar, being held on Wednesday 07 March at the RACV City Club, Melbourne.