Local Government and Planning

Coutts incorporate Coutts Mallik Rees, which has an illustrious history in local government, planning and environmental law. Coutts Mallik Rees has extensive experience acting for Councils and defendants in Class 5 prosecutions conducted in the Land and Environment Court and defending provide clients in various prosecutions under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, the National Parks and Wildlife Act and the Native Vegetation Act. Experience on both sides of these matters provide unique insight and has honed Coutts investigatory tools for Council’s benefit.

Coutts has lawyers with experience in government administrative law including advising statutory bodies on high-level statutory interpretation and policy and procedure development which provides a broad knowledge base on which to advise on Council’s statutory and ethical obligations as well as information access matters in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). Coutts has recently advised and represented Councils in responding to information access appeals in NCAT.

Development Contributions Advice

Coutts has experience advising Councils on matters relating to” the making, amending and repeal of Development Contribution Plans.

Some examples of our work include:

  • The legislative framework relating to development contributions including the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and Ministerial Directions
  • Negotiating and drafting Works in Kind Agreements
  • Negotiating and drafting Voluntary Planning Agreements
  • The interpretation of the s94 Plan and whether the Applicant should  pay the s94 contributions  in a Class l development appeal the ultimate result was found in Council’s favour
  • The requirements of the ‘Flood plain Development Manual — the management of flood liable land’, particularly in relation to sl49(2) and sl49(5) planning certificates
  • The wording for 10.7 certificates, particularly in relation to ‘flood-related development controls
  • Advising Council as to whether the ‘NSW Coastal Planning Guideline: Adapting to Sea Level Rise’ had been adopted by Council as a policy
  • Advising Council in relation to the wording in) planning certificates particularly in relation to sea-level rise, tidal inundation and flood-related development controls
  • Acting for a client in the Court of Appeal as to whether the DCP provisions could inform the LEP provisions or whether the LEP provisions stood by themselves and whether it was impermissible to use the DCP to interpret the LEP
  • Advising Council on Planning Agreements and drawing appropriate
  • Successfully representing and advising Council on appropriate strategies in injunction proceedings brought by ICAC to restrain Council from dismissing the General Manager
  • Advising Councils of requirements of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 and advising on exempt provisions: assisting Councils to respond to requests for information under the Act and advising on exempt provisions: appearing in appeals to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.

Administrative Law

Some examples of our work include:

  • Advising Council on its natural justice obligations, including its obligations to act reasonably in all circumstances and to ignore irrelevant matters
  • Acting for Council in a claim by a widow for the residue of monies held by Council in trust for overdue rates where no application for probate has been made and where no proof has been provided that the terms contract was completed
  • Advising Council in threatened Supreme Court proceedings by a previous employee for dismissal contrary to provisions of the Local Government Act relating to amalgamated Councils
  • Acting for Councils in numerous Class 4 proceedings in the Land and Environment Court seeking declarations of validity of Council decisions and relevant writs of mandamus and injunctions
  • Acting for objectors in Class 4 proceedings in the Land and Environment Court seeking declarations of invalidity against development approvals or other actions by Councils.

Seeking and obtaining injunctions and demolition orders as a consequence of unlawful activities.