You are here: ACTLawHbk » ACTLawHandbook » Trees


Contributed by Anahita Surya and current to March 2022

What is the law?

There are no specific legislative provisions in the ACT on invasive trees. The law on neighbours’ rights and responsibilities in relation to trees can be found in the common law (law that is developed by the courts over time) of trespass and nuisance.

Resolving the issue in a friendly manner is best for all parties involved. If you need mediation support, contact the ACT Conflict Resolution Service on 6189 0590 (main office) for confidential and affordable assistance. If unsuccessful, you can seek an order from ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT).

To talk to someone about your dispute, contact the Legal Aid ACT Helpline (9am to 4pm on weekdays) on 1300 654 314.


A tree branch that hangs over your property is technically trespassing. You therefore have the right to trim any overhanging branches as long as you are not entering your neighbour’s property. You can only remove the part of the tree that is hanging over your property. Similarly, any tree droppings (fruit, leaves etc.) that have not been removed may also constitute trespass. Before trimming any overhanging branches, consult with your neighbour as some trees are covered by the Tree Protection Act 2005 (ACT) and cannot be modified without approval.


Encroaching trees that cause substantial and unreasonable interference with your ability to enjoy your property may be deemed a nuisance at common law. Below are some examples of tree nuisance:
  • Bamboo growing through and damaging your neighbour’s fence;
  • Overhanging trees that interfere with growth of fruit on neighbour’s land;
  • Tree droppings (fruit, leaves etc.) that corrupt soil on neighbour’s land;
  • Encroaching roots that damage storm water or sewerage drains;
  • Encroaching roots that damage retaining walls;
  • Interference with neighbour’s gardening operations.

What can I do?

You can seek a trespass or nuisance order from the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) asking your neighbour to remove the tree, or to compensate you for any damage/expenses. To do so, lodge a Civil Dispute Application form with ACAT. Refer to Trespass for more information on how to seek a civil disputes order.

Contact your landlord or real estate agent if you are a tenant.

Useful Resources

‘Civil Disputes’ webpage, ACAT

‘Civil Dispute Application Form’ webpage, ACAT

This site is powered by FoswikiCopyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding AustLII Communities? Send feedback
This website is using cookies. More info. That's Fine