Full Court Minute Books

Case B34/2020

Oakey Coal Action Alliance Inv v. New Acland Coal Pty Ltd & Ors

Case No.


Case Information

Lower Court Judgment

10/09/2019; 01/11/2019 Supreme Court of Queensland (Court of Appeal) (Sofronoff P, Philippides JA and Burns J)

[2019] QCA 184; [2019] QCA 238


Administrative law – Apprehended bias – Relief – Jurisdiction of inferior courts – Where first respondent applied for two mining leases and to amend existing environmental authority – Where appellant lodged objections to applications – Where Land Court of Queensland rejected applications – Where first respondent sought judicial review of Land Court’s decision, urging grounds that included apprehended bias and errors in relation to groundwater issues – Where Queensland Supreme Court rejected bias grounds but accepted groundwater grounds and remitted issues relating to groundwater to Land Court for redetermination, holding that Land Court bound by original findings and conclusions on questions other than groundwater issues – Where appellant appealed against remittal orders and first respondent cross-appealed on apprehended bias issue – Where Land Court, differently constituted, proceeded with hearing in accordance with remittal orders despite pending appeal, and recommended that applications should be approved – Where Court of Appeal subsequently dismissed appeal on groundwater issues but allowed cross-appeal on apprehended bias – Where despite allowing cross-appeal and making declaration that Land Court’s original decision affected by want of procedural fairness, Court of Appeal did not set aside remittal orders – Whether in circumstances where reviewing court concludes decision of inferior court affected by reasonable apprehension of bias, reviewing court can refuse to set aside decision below and order new trial either at all, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, or on the basis of futility – Whether order of superior court requiring inferior court to proceed in certain way can augment jurisdiction of inferior court so as to validate decision of inferior court that would otherwise be nullity.

Short particulars


05/06/2020 Hearing (SLA, Sydney and by video connection)

19/06/2020 Notice of appeal

26/06/2020 Submitting appearance (Second Respondent)

24/07//2020 Written submissions (Appellant)

24/07/2020 Chronology (Appellant)

10/08/2020 Submitting appearance (Third Respondent)

21/08/2020 Written submissions (First Respondent)

11/09/2020 Reply

06/10/2020 Hearing (Full Court, Canberra)

06/10/2020 Outline of oral argument (Appellant)

06/10/2020 Outline of oral argument (First Respondent)

03/02/2021 Judgment (Judgment summary)