I have just returned from a stimulating couple of days at Bond University on the Gold Coast, which hosted the 12th Australasian Property Law Teachers’ Association Conference. The conference saw a stimulating mix of papers and ongoing discussions amongst the delegates from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK.
In 2011 Queensland updated its legislation concerning dividing fences disputes, introducing the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 (‘Act’). The Act significantly overhauls the earlier Dividing Fences Act particularly through the introduction of a jurisdiction concerning trees.
Looking through the Act recently, I was noticed that the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘QCAT’) had jurisdiction not only over trees that dropped branches onto neighbours’ land or those which posed a danger to the neighbours. Under s66, QCAT may also make an order relating to ‘interference that is an obstruction of sunlight or a view’. This raises the question of the basis on which such an order may be made. In particular I am interested in whether this creates, by implication, a property right.