Advantage of own wrong

Charara v Waverley Council [2021] NSWLEC 1650

Charara sought consent to add a mezzanine floor to his house in Bronte in breach of the applicable Floor Space Ratio standard.  He succeeded by showing (A) the standard was unreasonable and unnecessary, (B) there were sufficient other grounds met, and (C) that public interest elements were satisfied. 

Unapproved modifications already undertaken, however, could not be taken into account in Floor Space Ratio calculations – ‘existing dwelling-house’ means a lawful one.  Otherwise, said the court (at [36]) would have allowed Charara to take advantage of his own wrong3.  As Episode 11 reports, this ancient rule still exerts its influence in modern times4.

This principle is from Episode 80 of interpretation NOW!


3 Vic Vellar [2010] NSWLEC 266 (at [75]), Green [1999] NSWLEC 256 (at [32]).

4 Vo [2015] NSWSC 1523 (at [17]), Meridien [2013] QCA 121 (at [20-27]).