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Environment Court Appeals

What is an Environment Court appeal? When can I appeal a decision? What does an appeal involve? These are common questions that we are asked regularly. Whether you are contemplating an appeal or seeking clarity on the nuances of resource management law, this article shares insights into the key considerations of an Environment Court appeal.

At the heart of resource management and environmental issues in New Zealand lies the multifaceted Environment Court, which serves as a decision maker for these complex issues. The Environment Court has jurisdiction over appeals from decisions concerning regional and district plans, resource consents, coastal, discharge and water permits, as well as designations for public works/projects, abatement notices, enforcement proceedings and environmental declarations.

Considerations for lodging an appeal

Time Considerations

Appeals from resource consent decisions must be filed within 15 working days and for plan changes, within 30 working days and both types of appeals need to be in accordance with the Resource Management (Forms, Fees, and Procedure) Regulations 2003.  Waivers for late submissions can be sought.

Professional Advice

Although not obligatory, seeking advice from resource management professionals, such as lawyers or planners, is advisable. Legal professionals can assess case viability, navigate legal processes, and draft the appeal.

Costs and Risk Assessment

The filing fee for Environment Court appeals for resource consents and plan changes is $600 with additional fees for scheduling and hearings. Costs may be awarded against unsuccessful appellants, particularly in cases of unnecessary delays or withdrawals.

Lodging an appeal: Procedural Aspects

Once the appeal has been filed with the Environment Court, a copy is required to be served on the respondent (usually the local authority) as soon as possible. There is then 5 working days to serve any person who made a submission (and with resource consents, 5 working days to serve the applicant, if applicable). The Environment Court then needs to be notified of the service details.

Joining an appeal

If an appeal has been lodged, and you were a submitter (or a person who has an interest greater than the public), you can join in the appeal and this is commonly referred to as a ‘s274 party’. To become a party to proceedings, a ‘Section 274 Notice’ will need to be completed and filed with the Environment Court. The filing fee is $100 and the notice needs to be filed within 15 working days after the period for lodging the notice of appeal ends. The Section 274 Notice then needs to be served on the local authority and the appellant.

Powers of the Environment Court

The Environment Court has the authority to affirm, modify, or reverse decisions. In the execution of its duties and possible outcomes of an appeal, the Environment Court is vested with the power to instruct councils, reassess resource consents, affirm or modify decisions, suspend or confirm abatement notices, issue declarations, and determine cost allocations.[1]


Whether you are grappling with a decision made by a local council or facing challenges related to resource consents, district plans, or policy statements, we are committed to helping you understand your options and navigate the legal process effectively. Your concerns are important to us, and we stand ready to assist you in pursuing a fair and just resolution. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your situation and explore how we can assist you in addressing your environmental appeal needs.


This article is current as at the date of publication and is only intended to provide general comments about the law. Harkness Henry accepts no responsibility for reliance by any person or organisation on the content of the article. Please contact the author of the article if you require specific advice about how the law applies to you.

For further information

Charlotte Muggeridge - Harkness Henry Associate

Charlotte Muggeridge

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