Law Reform Commission published compulsory acquisition of land report

Law Reform Commission published compulsory acquisition of land report

2 minute read

In March 2023, The Law Reform Commission published a report on the compulsory acquisition of land, which includes a draft bill, the Acquisition of Land Bill 2023. The report aims to reform the compulsory acquisition process after a compulsory purchase order has been confirmed and becomes operative.

While the Commission initially considered the entire process of compulsory purchase law, it limited its focus to the activation and compensation stages due to the government’s development of a revised Planning and Development Bill, which addresses compulsory purchase orders up to the confirmation stage.

The Commission’s objective is to establish a simplified system for acquisition and compensation that equitably balances the rights of landowners whose land is being acquired and the acquiring authorities’ need to acquire land rapidly and efficiently so that projects that serve the public interest can proceed.

The report’s recommendations for reform concentrate on acquisition and compensation procedures, which are mainly regulated by the long-standing legislation of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act 1845 and the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act 1919.

Landowners will benefit from the proposed rigorous timelines that require acquiring authorities to proceed with compulsory acquisition in a timely manner. Acquiring authorities will be able to obtain title to the land at an earlier stage than currently allowed.

The Commission recommends that acquiring authorities make an advance payment of no less than 90% of the owner’s compensation entitlement estimation at or near the time the owner loses title to their land. This strategy is widely established in other legal jurisdictions and has significant benefits for both owners and acquiring authorities, as it reduces the amount of interest for which they may be liable under the current system.


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