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Stephen Griffiths : Partner

ACCREDITED SPECIALIST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PLANNING LAW

 sgriffiths@pvlaw.com.au

Areas of Practice:
  • Planning and local government law.
  • Advocacy. Litigation in most jurisdictions from personal injuries through to trade practices, company law, professional negligence and building disputes. Arbitrations, references and mediations.
  • Complex conveyancing transactions including subdivision, strata subdivisions, easements, airspace and pipeline rights and licences.
  • Commercial matters including joint ventures and trusts, technology agreements, distribution agreements, royalty agreements, leases, licences and franchises.
Academic Qualifications:
  • BA 1971, University of Sydney
  • LLB 1974, University of Sydney
  • LLM (Second Class Hons) 1986, University of Sydney
  • Accredited Specialist in Local Government Planning Law 1998
Admission Details:
  • New South Wales 1974
Career Highlights:
  • Represented the Queensland SGIO in the successful High Court appeal in Sharman v Evans which at the time was the highest award of damages for personal injuries in Australia (1977).
  • Represented the RSPCA in conducting many successful prosecutions in Local Court, District Court, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal (1979-1990).
  • Represented the State Building Society of New South Wales in numerous Supreme Court debt recovery actions (1984-1990).
  • Represented a franchisee group in successful proceedings against the franchisor in the High Court in Baxter ats Tana. These were proceedings originally commenced in the Industrial Commission of New South Wales based on the claim of an unfair contract of employment and ran successfully through the full Court and the High Court on behalf of franchisees seeking relief from and compensation in respect of an Australian-wide fast food franchise (1986).
  • Successfully represented a number of entities in the creation of easements and airspace rights to land adjoining Qantas Drive, Joyce Drive and the Robey Street and O'Riordan Street bridges at Sydney Airport for the installation of large scale advertising signs. This involved complex commercial and property lease agreements and litigation involving the State Rail Authority of NSW and the Federal Airports Corporation (1988-1994).
  • Successful litigation of a claim by RMYC Port Hacking against its insurer for storm damage to its marina. The insurer had refused indemnity on the basis that the damage flowed from faulty design in the marina system. The action taken included Supreme Court proceedings and the conduct of a hearing before a Court approved referee. Issues involved state of the art marina design world wide and experts were called from Australia and abroad. The referee found no former damage and the client's claim was upheld (1991).
  • Recovered $700,000.00 for Leichhardt Council in the successful conclusion to a dispute concerning the ratability of land owned by the Crown (1993-1995).
  • Appeared on behalf of successful cross respondents in the Federal Court proceedings McMullin v ICI. This was one of the first class actions brought in Australia and was brought on behalf of cattle producers against ICI following the contamination of meat produced for export by a pesticide sprayed on cotton crops (1996-1997).
  • Represented South Sydney City Council in successful proceedings against the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust in the Supreme Court of New South Wales through the Court of Appeal and the High Court of Australia in a commercial dispute arising out of the operation of the Domain Carparking Station (1996-2002).
  • Successfully appeared for an intervener (a refractory industry) in Land and Environment Court proceedings concerning a residential subdivision to require that the developer, as a condition of consent, carry out at the developer's expense noise amelioration works to our client's factory (2004).
  • Successful representation of an applicant for development consent for a 152 site manufactured home estate within the Albury local government area (2007).
  • Successfully defending proceedings brought by Shellharbour City Council against a number of residents accused of wrongful disclosure of confidential Council information (2008).
  • Numerous successful prosecutions, injunction proceedings and planning appeals in the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales.  
Professional Appointments:
  • Property Law Dispute Resolution Working Party – Law Society of NSW (1998-1999).
  • Professional Conduct Committee – Law Society of NSW (2000-2001).
  • Appointed by the President of the Law Society of NSW as expert to determine dispute between Orange City Council and Orange Regional Conservatorium Inc. (2001).
  • Panel Member – Senior Solicitors' Scheme Panel of the Law Society of New South Wales, October 2005.
Attorney General Appointments:
  • Arbitrator in the District Court of NSW (1983-2006)
  • Arbitrator in the Local Court of NSW (1983-2007)
Pro Bono:
  • Appeared on assignment from Legal Aid Commission of New South Wales in the Children's Court throughout New South Wales on behalf of numerous young persons facing criminal prosecutions (1980-2000).
Recent Publications and Presentations:
  • "Illegal use/illegal building work – Council responses" – March 2002 – a summary of the law with a critique of options available to Councils distributed to numerous Councils within New South Wales.
  • "Contract administration" – a paper delivered to employees of South Sydney Council in June 2002.
  • "Expert evidence and proposed changes to the Land and Environment Court Practice Direction in that regard" – a paper delivered for the College of Law as part of its continuing legal education program in July 2002.
  • "The new Practice Direction on expert evidence in the Land and Environment Court" - a paper delivered to the Environmental Planning Lawyers Association in September 2002.
  • "Procedural fairness" – a paper delivered for the College of Law as part of its continuing legal education program in February 2004.
  • "Councillor's Role Constraints and Opportunities" – a paper delivered to employees of Hurstville City Council in April 2004.
  • "The Councillor's Role in the Planning and Approvals Process including Land and Environment Court Proceedings" – a paper delivered to Councillors of Auburn Council in April 2004. Chairman, LexisNexis Planning and Environment Law Conference, Darling Harbour, 22 March 2005
  • "The Planning Implications of Existing Use Rights for the Future Development of a Site".
  • "The Rise and Rise of Development Control Plans", August 2005.
  • "The Planning Implications of Existing Use Rights for the Future Development of a Site", August 2005.
  • "Planning Agreements", September 2006.
  • "Orders – Some Preliminary Considerations", April 2007.
  • "Issues in Land and Environment Court Practice, Recent Decisions in the Land and Environment Court (and Court of Appeal)", a paper delivered for the College of Law, August 2007.
Employment History:
  • 1975 - current:  Partner, Pikes & Verekers Lawyers

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