Claimed property right does not hold water

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Publication details

Corkill, JR 2013, 'Claimed property right does not hold water', Australian Law Journal, vol. 87, no. 1, pp. 49-58.


Evidence advanced for the proposition that “governments and legislatures cannot ignore the fundamental right of property owners to protect their land from the sea” is reviewed to test the veracity of this bold claim. The origin of this right and the courts’ clarification of its limited nature in English common law are explained, the impacts of modern statutes on common law rights are considered and the powers of State Parliaments to enact legislation are examined. By referring to decisions of superior courts and citing current NSW statutes applicable to the construction of coastal protection works, the article concludes that the claimed fundamental property right does not hold water. Coastal landowners are encouraged to recognise NSW shoreline law as it currently exists and challenged to abandon the claim to a right which has long ceased to exist in NSW.

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