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LAND COURT OF QUEENSLAND

CITATION: Babuin v Department of Natural Resources and Water [2008] QLC 0059 P & R & A Baubin & J Handley (appellants) v. Chief Executive, Department of Natural Resources and Water (respondent) AV2007/0358, 0359, 0360, 0361 Land Court of Queensland Jurisdiction Appeals against Unimproved Valuation 18 March 2008 Brisbane Warwick Mr BR O'Connor The Court has no jurisdiction to decide these appeals. Jurisdiction Late filing of appeals Whether reasonable excuse Mrs P. Baubin for the appellants. Ms. A Wilson Lawyer, Department of Natural Resources and Water for the respondent.

PARTIES:

FILE NO: DIVISION: PROCEEDING: DELIVERED ON: DELIVERED AT: HEARD AT: JUDICIAL REGISTRAR: ORDER: CATCHWORDS:

APPEARANCES:

[1]

The issue for determination in these matters are whether the Court has jurisdiction to hear the appeals which were lodged 27 July 2007, 3days after the due date (24 July 2007). Section 57 of the Valuation of Land Act 1944 (VLA) allows for "reasonable excuse" as a cause for such delay.
"57.(1) If a notice of appeal is filed in the Land Court registry after the time stated in section 55(2), the registrar of the court must notify the owner that the appeal may not be heard unless the owner satisfies the court that the owner has a reasonable excuse for filing the notice after the time stated. Example of reasonable excuse The notice of the chief executives decision or the notice of appeal was lost or delayed in the ordinary course of post."

The question then is whether the explanation for the late lodgement advanced by the appellants falls within the term "reasonable excuse" as interpreted by the relevant authorities, particularly those since the introduction of s.57 as amended in 2000. [2] The authorities on the term "reasonable excuse" or similar expressions are usefully collected in the decision of the Land Court in Anthony v. Chief Executive, Department of Natural Resources, 10 November 2000. In essence, the authorities establish that the excuse must be "substantial" and "what one is looking for is some cause which a reasonable man would regard as sufficient a cause, consistent with a reasonable standard of conduct, the kind of thing which one might have expected to delay the taking of action by a reasonable man". Background [3] Mrs P Baubin, one of the landholders, gave evidence for the appellants. She stated she had suffered a fall sometime before the time for the lodgement of the appeal and had been subject to continuing illness since that time. However, when pressed in crossexamination, she stated it was essentially a miscalculation of dates on her behalf rather than the ongoing illness that prevented her from lodging the appeal on time. She also stated that, while she had difficulty leaving the property, she did have the service of a local mailman who collected postal items from her front gate on a regular basis. [4] While the Court certainly sympathises with Mrs Baubins health issues, her explanation does not come within the cases where the Court has previously held amount to a reasonable excuse. For example, where the appellant may have been hospitalised at the time close to the date of lodgement of an appeal, reasonable excuse has been held to have been established. [5] It should also be noted that the Court took the somewhat unusual step, after the jurisdiction hearing, of proceeding with a preliminary conference between Mrs Baubin and the Department Valuers (this step was taken with the consent of the Chief Executives legal Representative). This procedure was done on the basis that jurisdiction may be found to lie but that the Court would not be sitting in Warwick for some considerable time. [6] As a result of the current jurisdiction finding, the appellants are not able to proceed to a full Court Hearing (should the matter not be resolved consequent upon the preliminary conference). Order The Court has no jurisdiction to decide these appeals. BR O'CONNOR JUDICIAL REGISTRAR 2