QLD Barrister fails to deliver (House development application)

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13 August 2021
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Greetings,

I’m here seeking recourse, any form of advice pertaining to an issue encountered with a Barrister from the firm Chambers 33 (Brisbane) in relation to my proposed house build currently in decision stage of development application. Proposal is for small, off-grid house on 1 acre rural property, site has no service utilities, located in Moreton Bay Region (MBRC).

MBRC issued Draft conditions including requirement for fully constructed 2-coat bitumen sealed road (700 meters) to extend to service the site, catering for a 15t. metropolitan fire appliance, at no cost to MBRC. I appealed to local council member and achieved changing the condition to a gravel (not bitumen) road. The existing track was upgraded, and the bushfire report updated (confirming access satisfactory from a bushfire perspective).

Council was somewhat satisfied, however now had new concerns pertaining to the provision of service infrastructure (utilities). Council insists that while the property adjoins a Council controlled road corridor containing the access track, part of the access track extends into national park for a period between the property frontage & termination of the seal portion of road and without it contained within the gazetted road corridor for the entire length, Council was not able to satisfy lawful access requirements (impacting provision of utilities). Where the road / access track exists now is where it has for over 100 years – this is not my fault that whoever built the first road or whoever surveyed the first road did so incorrectly. What is important however is that road is contained within the gazetted corridor at my property frontage and for several hundred meters before it deviates off for a section.

This forms the main point of contention and I engaged a Solicitor to obtain a Barrister’s opinion, detailing whether he/she believes the application now complies with all Requirements for Acceptable Development (RAD) or; it was inable to (due to provision of service infrastructure/utilities). Course of events below:

  • Council end of Decision Period date stood at 12th April.
  • Town Planner consulted Solicitor (Barrister) 5th Feb.
  • Fee proposal received from Socilitor & Barrister, I accepted (deposited monies into trust account) 16th Mar.
  • 1st April I requested extension to end Decision Period, extended to 12th July.
  • 10th May teleconference (Solicitor, Barrister, Town Planner & I). Barrister was in general agreement, proposing written advice will be provided in due course (incl. time for review by myself plus 3-4 weeks for MBRC legal team to review & action ahead of end Decision Period date).
  • 8th July I requested extension to end Decision Period, extended to 13th September.
Throughout, I’ve witnessed Barrister’s communications stating letter of advice will be finished next week, after this weekend, by this date, etc. This includes an email from Barrister directly to myself (on 29th July) stating I’ll receive it early in the next week.

Today is 12th Aug with nothing received. 4 weeks remain until final end Decision Period date, keeping in mind Council legal team require time to review & action. I immediately released monies to the Barrister for their time at teleconference when I received their invoice (plus monies to the Solicitor and Town Planner throughout the process). Note that a request for end Decision Period extension cost monies.

I consulted with an independent solicitor on the situation, they said I only have an agreement with my solicitor and the Barrister does not have to provide me with anything. Do they not have a Duty of Care however, especially when they’ve emailed me directly (29th July)?

I do know they lack professionalism; why engage only to attend a meeting and confirm in writing repeatedly over a course of months that a letter of advice will be provided yet not do this whilst being aware that end Decision Period extensions are being required to be made. This doesn’t make sense; it is not correct, and I would not want any other person to experience something like this.

Is there any advice on what could be done here ahead of missing the final end Decision Period (12th September)?

Also, to reduce the risk that other persons in our community are subjected to a similar negative experience as a result of a Barrister? [LSC – I don’t believe much will prevail (not a significant enough matter to be reported to the Bar Association); Media - may be a good way to warn others].
 

Docupedia

Well-Known Member
7 October 2020
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You call your solicitor and demand answers as to why you haven’t received the promised advice. The solicitor is the barrister‘s client, not you.