Contact

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P: 9262 6188

E: mcottom@pvlaw.com.au

Introduction

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Mark joined the firm in March 2018 having worked in specialist local government and planning law practices in Sydney and the Illawarra for 15 years. He is a Law Society accredited specialist in Local Government and Planning Law.

Working for both government and private clients, Mark regularly provides opinions on various legal matters and litigation files. He appears in the Land and Environment Court and Local Court in relation to development appeals, tree disputes, claims for compensation relating to compulsory acquisition of land, judicial review proceedings, prosecutions for illegal development and other environmental/enforcement actions. His main area of focus is investigation, orders, civil enforcement and prosecution for breaches against a variety of environmental legislation.

Mark has in the past been a regular author of reports for the Environmental Law Reporter, a publication of the Environment and Planning Law Association (NSW). He has also presented workshops to local councils tailored to their training needs, as well as seminars to industry representatives on current issues within his areas of legal expertise which cover:

  • Local Government Law: advising local government authorities on governance issues, functions and responsibilities under the Local Government Act 1993 and various other related legislation;
  • Town Planning and Environmental Law: advising local government authorities, corporations and private individuals on development approval and assessment issues; advising prosecuting authorities concerning investigation for offences against environmental legislation. Prosecuting for offences against environmental and planning laws in the Local Court and the Land and Environment Court;
  • Land and Environment Court: representing and appearing for government authorities, corporations and private individuals in proceedings concerning development applications, civil enforcement and prosecutions in the Land and Environment Court; and
  • Administrative Law: advising local government clients on administrative law issues such as access to information, privacy and discrimination.

Experience

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  • Mark appeared for the Heritage Council in successfully defending a planning appeal concerning the proposed subdivision of land that was part of an item listed on the State Heritage Register: Samowill Pty Ltd v Heritage Council of New South Wales [2017] NSWLEC 1550.
  • Successful defence to a compensation claim for improvements made by tenants to farmland owned by the council: McCann v Coffs Harbour City Council [2015] NSWCATCD 150.
  • Recent successful Local Court prosecution for a local council which resulted in a local food shop proprietor and director each being convicted and fined of 19 separate breaches of the Food Act 2003.
  • Recently advising local councils on permissibility of certain developments on land zoned for forestry purposes.
  • Advising on compensation for compulsory acquisition of land and working on associated litigation matters for both acquiring authorities and dispossessed landowners, including for the successful parties in the recent Court of Appeal cases Hoy v Coffs Harbour City Council [2016] NSWCA 257 and El Boustani v The Minister administering the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 [2014] NSWCA 33.
  • Acting for local councils in Class 4 civil enforcement proceedings to remedy public health risks posed by excessive waste at residential premises (eg Hurstville City Council v Jacobs (No 3) [2015] NSWLEC 194 and Coffs Harbour City Council v West [2017] NSWLEC 94).
  • Advices given to client councils on confidentiality and privilege issues arising in respect of applications for access to information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.
  • Acting for a State government authority in a number of judicial review proceedings in the Land and Environment Court.
  • Acting for a local council on a successful application for an urgent interlocutory injunction restraining prohibited residential/boarding house use being carried out within part of industrial premises with grossly inadequate fire safety provisions (Marrickville Council v Cleary [2015] NSWLEC 24).
  • Acting for a local council in successfully obtaining remedial orders in Class 4 civil enforcement proceedings concerning significant unauthorised works, including land clearing and placement of contaminated fill, in alleged breach of four separate Acts – and then successfully prosecuting the corporate defendants for pollution of land offences arising (Hurstville City Council v Romanous Construction Pty Ltd; Hurstville City Council v Romanous Contractors Pty Ltd [2016] NSWLEC 24).
  • Representing local and State government authorities in Class 5 prosecutions in the Land and Environment Court for offences under planning, environmental, water catchment and water management legislation.
  • Acting for various local councils in matters arising under the Companion Animals Act 1997 including appeals against dangerous dog declarations, Local Court prosecutions for dog attacks and other breaches of the Act, and advising on seizure and destruction powers under the Act.
  • Weriton Finance v Wollongong City Council [2011] NSWLEC 1046: significant Class 1 development appeal involving constrained headland site with planning/heritage issues.
  • Regularly advising councils on investigation and enforcement powers (including requiring persons to produce records and/or attend interviews; and issuing orders, prevention notices and clean-up notices) for breaches of various environmental legislation – including for unauthorised works, air and water pollution – and appearing for the prosecutor in the ensuing Local Court prosecutions.
  • Advising on investigations and acting for prosecutor in successful prosecution for pollution of waters: Wollongong City Council v Belmorgan Property Development Pty Ltd [2008] NSWLEC 291.

Contact

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P: 9262 6188

E: mcottom@pvlaw.com.au

Qualifications

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Diploma in Law – Legal Profession Admission Board (2007)

Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice – University of Wollongong (2007)