SPEAKING TO THE MASSES: Her Honour Peta Stilgoe, member of the Land Court of Queensland, gives her speech in Roma last year .
SPEAKING TO THE MASSES: Her Honour Peta Stilgoe, member of the Land Court of Queensland, gives her speech in Roma last year . Marguerite Cuddihy

Land Court law on the road

IT'S often said the best way to resolve conflict is to avoid the conflict in the first place.

It is with that in mind the Land Court of Queensland has brought its forum to the region, with two speakers demystifying the Land Court process at the Big Rig in Roma on Monday.

The Land Court helps residents across Queensland with their appeals against gas companies, a issue which is especially pertinent in the Maranoa, where widespread gas exploration occurs.

Land Court member Peta Stilgoe was one of the public speakers on Monday.

Ms Stilgoe works closely with the GasFields Commission to outline the court's alternative dispute resolution options and explain how theLand Court process works.

"In many ways, the Land Court is in the business of doing itself out of business and that is simply because there are often cheaper, easier and less stressful ways to resolve a dispute over land,” Ms Stilgoe told a recent forum in Yuleba.

"Of course, the Land Court will continue ruling on disputes if that is where the two parties want their case heard but mediation is often a more cost-effective tool.”

There are multiple levels of mediation available to parties in dispute, starting with a low level of mediator intervention, escalating to arbitration.

"It's all designed to create a lower-cost, lower-stress vehicle for dispute resolution,” Ms Stilgoe said.

"It won't be the answer for everyone in every circumstance, we know that, but it's important that people know there are alternatives.”

If a trial cannot be avoided, court representatives undertake a site visit and where possible hear the first day's evidence in the courthouse closest to the affected community.

There are also a range of measures landholders can take to avoid the court system altogether outlined on the GasFields Commission website.

In the words of Martin Luther King: "People fail to get along because they fear each other, they fear each other because they don't know each other, they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

Land Court dates are available at courts.qld.gov.au/courts/ land-court.


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