Why a million-dollar spat over a Noosa deck affects you
IT'S the Noosa deck that cost an estimated million dollar in legal fees and will never ever be built.
A High Court decision this week has finally sealed the verdict of about five metres of air space in the luxury living enclave at the Viridian Noosa Residences.
But there is there is more to the case than expensive legal wrangling between bull-headed millionaires used to getting their own way.
Frank Higginson, from Hynes Legal, said the "landmark" High Court decision had significant implications for body corporates across Australia.
It was the longest running and most expensive dispute over a deck in Australia.
It began when former CEO of Theiss, Martin Albrecht, challenged the decision of the Viridian Noosa Residences body corporate to refuse his request to adjoin two decks on the architect award-winning property.
Mr Albrecht won the first legal battle, but the body corporate, with the financial backing of pokie millionaire Lee Ainsworth's son, Kjerulf, took it to Queensland Civil and Administration Tribunal, where they won.
So Mr Albrecht took it to the Supreme Court where he won.
And then the body corporate took it to highest authority in the land, the High Court of Australia and the decision was delivered this week in its favour.
Architect John Mainwaring said the High Court judgement saw costs estimated to be around $500,000 awarded against Mr Albrecht (for the body corporates fees alone).
Mr Higginson said body corporates had a statutory obligation under the act to act reasonably.
"You and I can chose to say no because we feel like it, but body corps can't," he said.
"The fight was over whether the decision (to reject the request) was reasonable.
"If Mr Albrecht had won, then and body corporate decision could be overturned for want of 'the vibe'.
"The legal fall-out could be enormous as what it means for the thousands of mums and dads on individual committees.
"Body corporates are like the fourth level of government, it is a very unsophisticated industry and largely unaccountable.
"This decision will produce very big guidelines on how committees on body corporates must act.
"It is a landmark decision without any doubt at all.
"It means body corporate have a whole lot more ground to say no."