Australia’s real-life The Castle: Family take their David and Goliath battle to save their home all the way to the High Court and WIN – in eerily similar fashion to classic film
- An Australian family has won a four year legal battle to build their dream home
- Nick Deguisa and Tori McKenzie hit a road block trying to develop their land
- They were told they were not allowed to develop because of a 1960s land title
- So they took it to the High Court and won their case to subdivide their property
An Australian family has won a four-year legal battle to build their dream home.
Nick Deguisa and Tori McKenzie hit a road block while trying to develop their land at Henley Beach Road at Fulham in Adelaide.
The couple had wanted to subdivide the land and build a four-bedroom home for their growing family.
But their neighbours lodged a dispute over their plans because of the fineprint on a 1960s legal document.
After a four year battle the couple finally won the right to subdivide their land after taking the case all the way to the High Court.
Their tale is reminiscent of the classic Australia film the ‘Castle’ where the Kerrigan Family goes to court to stop the government taking ownership of their home.
Nick Deguisa and Tori McKenzie hit a road block trying to develop the land they owned at Henley Beach Road at Fulham in Adelaide (pictured)
The home used to be part of a 54 block lot of land which had been carved from a larger property by developer A. & H. F. Gaetjen
After entering a contract with a buyer for the land they were told a neighbour was disputing the modification because of the 1960s legal document.
The neighbour had lodged a caveat to prevent them from developing the land, Adelaide Now reported.
The Deguisa/McKenzie house was on a parcel of land that had strict guidelines around land use as per the land title from the 1960s.
An incomplete memorandum of encumbrance was attached, banning owners from using the land to run a business, building flats or subdividing.
This was back when the home was part of a 54 block lot of land which had been carved from a larger property.
But a document was incomplete and never stated who was supposed to be the beneficiary of the land use restrictions.
So the family took the case to the District court, knowing how difficult it would be to sell the property with such harsh restrictions on the land use.
They lost their case, but appealed it with the supreme court who ruled in favour of the previous judgement.
After entering a contract with a buyer for the land they were told a neighbour was disputing the modification because of the 1960s legal document
A certificate of title for the portion of land on Henley Beach Road in Adelaide dating back to the 1960s
Their tale was reminiscent of the classic Australia film the ‘Castle’ where the Kerrigan Family (pictured) goes to court to stop the government taking ownership of their home in Melbourne suburb Coolaroo
Mr Deguisa said they had given up on trying to subdivide the land at this point and were being crushed by the constant rejection.
‘It was a matter of survival by that point but we had lost faith in the legal system.’
Instead they took the case to the High Court, and won their bid to overturn the incomplete document from the 1960s.
The family said they are now ‘taking a breather’ after a tough four years before the courts.
‘But the plan is to still subdivide and build a four-bedroom house for our family,’ he said.