Koula Rafailidis

Koula Rafailidis is an OPCA adherent from New South Wales, and a long time admin of the Get out of paying fines, rego, fees, tolls and rates and several other Facebook groups.

In Camden Council v Rafailidis [2012] NSWLEC 51 the respondents were found in breach of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 by carrying out development otherwise than in accordance with the Notice of Determination of Development Application. They erected a new dwelling on their property on the condition that the old dwelling would be demolished upon completion. Instead, they moved into the new dwelling, continued renting out the old dwelling and refused to undertake demolition. Lloyd AJ made an order that the respondents were within ninety days to demolish and remove the existing dwelling on the property, or otherwise obtain an appropriate development consent to allow it to remain on the land in some form or another.

The Council refused the application on the grounds that it was not established in conjunction with the new dwelling and was therefore not a secondary dwelling as defined by the relevant local environmental plan, so in Camden Council v Rafailidis (No 2) [2012] NSWLEC 125 the respondents sought that the order be stayed until final determination by the consent authority, including by way of appeal, of the respondents’ current development application to retain the existing dwelling on the property.

In Camden Council v Rafailidis (No 3) [2012] NSWLEC 217 the parties subsequently reached agreement and a Commissioner of the court allowed the appeal and granted development consent for the old dwelling subject to the conditions that works to be carried out to the old dwelling, including the removal of an existing laundry and an existing bedroom so as to reduce the total floor area, and the removal of asbestos.

The works were not carried out within the following year, and the respondents were charged with contempt of court, in respect of the three sets of orders made and varied by the Court during 2012. The 2nd respondent/defendant, Koula Rafailidis, filed a “Notice of Special Appearance“, challenging the Court’s jurisdiction, supported by an affidavit/asseveration in support of that appearance and challenge, together with a “Notice – Challenge to the Jurisdiction of the Court“, and a NOM “requiring” the Court to “make null and void all orders, judgments” in this matter.

In Camden Council v Rafailidis (No 4) [2014] NSWLEC 22 Koula Rafailidis appeared without representation in this matter, and Sheahan J noted it was seriously disrupted by her supporters. She asserted that she has “no lawful binding contract” with the acquiring authority, this Court, or the judges, that she “was deceived by all people involved with this matter”, as the judges did not demonstrate that they were properly appointed and sworn as judges, and that they “allowed the proceedings to continue fraudulently”. She insisted that she “did not give expressed and unequivocal consent to the matter being heard summarily”, and enjoys “an inalienable right to trial by jury”, the denial of which constitutes treason, and as the court lacks jurisdiction to proceed summarily, that any determination it makes is the product of bias, deception, and/or fraud, and that “any orders/judgments” were not properly made and documented, that at least one document (a letter) was not admitted into evidence because “there was no wet ink signature” to give it “lawful standing” and “bind” her to it, and that interference with property without consent is “terrorism”. The respondent quoted some “maxims of law”, and from the bible, historical legal documents, including Magna Carta, and texts such as Halsbury’s Laws of England. She alleged that this Court is biased in favour of statutory authorities, including councils, and asserted that, as a statutory court, it lacks jurisdiction to deal with contempt.

Sheahan J found the 2nd respondent/defendant, Koula Rafailidis guilty of contempt as charged, and imposed a fine of $10,000, plus a monthly fine of $2,000, until the works were completed to Council’s satisfaction, in order to give her one last chance to purge her contempt.

In Camden Council v Rafailidis (No 5) [2012] NSWLEC 85 the matter returned to court for a sentencing hearing in respect of the 1st respondent/defendant, Efrem Rafailidis, who did not appear in the previous contempt hearing, and Sheahan J decided he should have a further chance to appear in his own defence before passing sentence. From previous hearings it emerged that Koula Rafailidis “handles all the paperwork”, especially “formal documents”, because, he said, he “can’t understand everything”. Koula Rafailidis emailed to say she would not attend the hearing because she felt “at risk of great harm”, due to an altercation with a Sheriff’s Officer who was removing her from the courtroom during a further directions hearing in which she was also accompanied by a crew of supporters. Efrem Rafailidis was likewise found guilty of contempt as charged, fined $10,000, plus a monthly fine of $2,000 until the works have been completed to Council’s satisfaction.

Koula Rafailidis and Efrem Rafailidis appealed from the two judgments finding them guilty of contempt of court, in Rafailidis v Camden Council [2015] NSWCA 185. McColl JA, Gleeson JA, and Bergin CJ pointed out it was unnecessary to refer to the bulk of the appellants’ written documents, which it said “… largely amounted to baseless assertions as to the constitution of the Land and Environment Court and whether the Council “existed”, as well as invocations of numerous passages from the Bible and the like” as well as contentions that the “Attorney General’s department was a party to the case and [his Honour] did work for the Attorney-General’s department” and that he “is employed/contract by the Department of Justice … a clear conflict of interest”. Thankfully, the appellants had competent legal representation in this hearing,  a Mr M Sneddon, that pointed out a number of valid defences. The court found that the appellants should not have been convicted of contempt of court, as the order was ambiguous, and that the conduct charged was not in conformity with the order breached. It set aside the orders finding the appellants guilty of contempt and convicting each of them of that charge, as well as the fines involved.

The compulsory acquisition

Another matter ran concurrently to this matter, which involved the applicants disputing Roads and Maritime Services’ compulsory acquisition of a 30 metre strip of their land on Camden Valley Way for the upgrading and widening of that road under the Roads Act 1993 (NSW), objecting to RMS’ offer of compensation of $126,000. At a directions hearing Koula Rafailidis stated that she opposed the making of any orders or directions in the proceedings, and that RMS had no power to acquire her property and that any legislation that purported to provide such a power was contrary to the Commonwealth Constitution and therefore invalid, and made other references to Magna Carta and the Imperial Acts Application Act 1969. She further stated that she proposed to commence proceedings in the Supreme Court seeking damages from RMS and that she did not wish to continue the proceedings in this court. The present proceedings had only been commenced in this court, so she said, because she had been misled into believing that it was necessary for her to do so. The judge was concerned as to the consequences if she took the course of discontinuing the proceedings, and enquired whether she was prepared to seek further advice from a practising lawyer before discontinuing the proceedings. Similarly at the next hearing, where the court noted:

“The equivocal nature of Mrs Rafailidis’ response to my question made apparent to me that such advice had not been sought. I inferred that some person who may not have been a practising lawyer had given her advice upon the lawfulness of the acquisition but that the procedural matters upon which I had encouraged her to seek advice had not been addressed.”

In Rafailidis v Roads and Maritime Services [2013] NSWLEC 131 a copy of a Notice said to have been given by her pursuant to section 78B of the Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth) been handed up, but a concerned Craig J could not identify a constitutional issue, and ordered that the parties were to exchange their expert valuation evidence and the matter was listed for further directions.

The proposed constitutional issue was addressed in Rafailidis v Roads and Maritime Services (No 2) [2014] NSWLEC 9 which was regarding the acquisition of property on just terms in section 51(xxxi) of the Commonwealth Constitution. Craig J did not accept that it bears upon the validity of the Compensation Act in the manner submitted, as a reference to “the Parliament” in the Constitution is a reference to the Commonwealth Parliament, and those matters upon which the Commonwealth Parliament may exercise legislative power, not the Parliament of New South Wales. It was accepted by the Attorney-General that this court has power to consider and determine the Constitutional issue raised by the appellants. During the course of the hearing, the applicant complained that the matter was not being dealt with by a jury, that this Court lacked jurisdiction, and that the judge was not properly appointed, which was rejected, as well as the further issues:

“Although not directly relevant to the Constitutional issue notified by Mrs Rafailidis, she also submitted that no man-made law could authorise the taking of property without the consent of the owner of that property as that action would constitute “stealing”. The stealing of property is contrary to the Biblical commandment “thou shalt not steal” and that commandment applies to all.”

Craig J determined that the amount of compensation to which the applicants are entitled, having regard to the provisions which will justly compensate them for the acquisition of the acquired land is the sum of $153,820. The applicants’ challenge to the validity of the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (NSW) was dismissed.

In Rafailidis v Roads and Maritime Services (No 3) [2014] NSWLEC 21, (which was incidentally the same day the identical submissions were made in Camden Council v Rafailidis (No 4) [2014] NSWLEC 22, the 18th of March 2014 the applicants brought before the Court a Notice of Motion seeking to have the court “make null and void all orders, judgements in this matter”, and a “Notice – Challenge to the Jurisdiction of the Court” asserting that all the proceedings were fraudulent, that Koula Rafailidis did not understand the procedure, that the judges of this Court should not have allowed the proceedings to continue, and that it should be heard by a special jury, followed by a page headed “Public Notice”, which asserted that all courts are common law courts, that there is an “inalienable” right to trial by jury, that the denial of that right constitutes “treason”, that jurors are empanelled to judge “the facts and law”, and that this court lacked jurisdiction to proceed summarily, in the absence of consent, as well as the document  “Asseveration of Truth” described above. The application was dismissed by Sheahan J.

In Rafailidis v Roads and Maritime Services [2015] NSWCA 143  the appellants challenged two decisions of the Land and Environment Court, claiming it was “an administration tribunal”, and that it “has no jurisdiction over living man”. She raised thirteen grounds of appeal, challenging the Land and Environment Court’s jurisdiction, an allegation that the judge could not proceed without the consent of the applicants, and claimed that the judge was biased. Further, that legislation permitting compulsory acquisition was contrary to various international covenants and treaties to which Australia is a party.  All of the grounds, and the application was dismissed by Beazley P, Basten JA and Ward JA.

Koula Rafailidis was back in Rafailidis v Camden Council [2021] NSWSC 1087, seeking a significant number of declarations that individual aspects of the defendant’s officers’ conduct were fraudulent, or false and misleading, or were otherwise unlawful. While the original statement of claim contained 34 prayers for relief, the proposed amended statement of claim contained seven prayers for relief, six of which sought that the Land Environment Court judgments should be set aside on the ground that they were procured by fraud. Robb J found that it did not contain any allegations of fact capable of establishing that the conduct was motivated by the objectives asserted, and ordered that the statement of claim be struck out, that the application for leave to file the proposed amended statement of claim be dismissed and that the proceedings be dismissed, as it would involve an abuse of process to permit the proceedings against the defendant to continue. 

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