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Public Law

Our Public Law practice advises local government clients and private clients interacting with local and central government.

Acting for a significant number of local authorities across the central North Island, we are experts in the Local Government Act. We understand the diverse nature of local government and our clients’ legal, regulatory and political risks.

Tompkins Wake provides legal support and strategic advice across the entire spectrum of local authority governance and operations – from the day-to-day provision of local infrastructure, local public services and numerous regulatory and enforcement functions, to strategic advice on policy making, law reform, and long-term planning.

Our Public Law team has an in-depth understanding of how councils work and the nature of public decision-making and accountability; helping our Local Government clients to ensure their decision-making is consistent with statutory, public and administrative law obligations and wider policy frameworks.

In the private sector, we work to help our clients navigate the complexities of policy and regulation to achieve their commercial outcomes. Our experience in the local government sector enables us to establish and position commercial interests with key decision-makers.

The team works alongside specialists from across Tompkins Wake to ensure our clients have access to the operational and strategic expertise they need on every matter.

Recent examples of our work:

  • Hamilton City Council - rating review
  • Hamilton City Council, Waipa District Council, and Waikato District Council - shared services agreements for wastewater services
  • Hamilton City Council – decision-making and subsequent proceedings on fluoridation of municipal water supply
  • Rotorua Lakes Council – iwi engagement strategy and governance
  • Rotorua Lakes Council and Hamilton City Council – appeals on Councils’ provisional local alcohol policies
  • Rotorua Lakes Council – petition for enquiry relating to the conduct of the 2016 local government elections


Areas of expertise:

  • Bylaws and Policies
  • Constitutional Law
  • Heritage Processes
  • Official Information (LGOIMA)
  • Public Works Act
  • Judicial Review Proceedings
  • Public Accountability
  • Public Private Partnerships
  • Regulatory and Enforcement Powers
  • Council Hearings
  • Development Contributions
  • Governance and Management
  • Decision Making
  • Local Government Elections
  • Reserves and Endowment Land
  • Services and Powers
  • Warrants
  • Long Term Plan and Annual Plans
  • Rating Reviews
  • Revenue Policy
  • Council Controlled Organisations
  • Sale and Supply of Alcohol
  • Law Reform
  • Roading

Public Law team

Andrew Orme


Bridget Parham


Peter Duncan


Theresa Le Bas


Marianne Mackintosh

Special Counsel

Dr. Edward Willis

Special Counsel

Megan Crocket

Senior Associate

Shaye Thomas

Senior Solicitor

Knowledge and insights

Alert: Ombudsman's warning to Local Government

Friday 9 March, 2018


Minister to reverse new non-notification law

Thursday 23 November, 2017


New Bill extends enforcement powers under the LGA

Friday 15 September, 2017


Requiring authority status for irrigation scheme operators

Thursday 13 July, 2017


Bribery of a public official

Thursday 13 July, 2017


Increased Compensation available under the Public Works Act

Monday 12 June, 2017


Tompkins Wake appoints new Partner

Thursday 1 June, 2017