THE new sustainable planning amendment bill set to go before state parliament, according to the government's explanatory notes, seeks to give the planning court "general discretion in relation to costs".
"At present the planning and environment court is essentially a cost-free jurisdiction in that, ordinarily, each party pays their own costs except in certain specific circumstances," the notes report.
"The one most often relied on is where the court considers a party has been frivolous or vexatious. This term has been the subject of many decisions of the planning and environment court and has been interpreted in such a way it is now rare for cost orders to be made under this exception even where the opponent is a commercial competitor.
"The usual rule in court proceedings is that the losing party pays the winning party's costs. This is in line with the rules under the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules, which apply in the supreme and district courts."