Special Counsel

Emma Whitney

Emma has practised in the area of environment and planning law for 20 years, advising clients on all levels of government, particularly State and Local Government.

Emma has extensive litigation experience and regularly advises clients on development appeals, civil enforcement and criminal prosecutions in both the Land and Environment Court and Local Court (criminal matters).

Emma provides comprehensive legal advice based on her clients current and future planning needs. She is known for providing that advice in a timely, realistic and cost effective manner, focussing on avoiding unnecessary, timely and expensive litigation.

Emma has worked for and against NSW State Government, various Local Council’s throughout NSW, mining corporations, universities and educational establishments, various large scale property development corporations and also small business and private individuals.


Emma’s expertise include:

  • Advising on approval pathways and compliance with environmental legislation (at all levels of Government)
  • Advising on and acting in merit appeals in the Land and Environment Court of NSW including mediations, conciliation conferences and contested hearings)
  • Drafting and negotiating voluntary planning agreement, planning proposals, developer access agreements and other development related agreements and deeds
  • Advising on and acting in civil enforcement matters for breaches of environmental legislation including injunctions, interlocutory matters and hearings in both the Supreme Court of NSW and the Land and Environment Court of NSW
  • Advising and acting in criminal prosecutions for breaches of environmental legislation in both the Land and Environment Court of NSW and the Local Court.
  • Due diligence for greenfield sites, infrastructure projects and business acquisitions with large environmental footprints.

Recent Projects

  • Advising on and representing Fortis on various development applications in Sydney and the Eastern Suburbs, including the ‘Bronte Collection’.
  • Advising Woolworths on environmental risk of disposal of service station sites (NSW wide)
  • Representing Woolworths in Land and Environment Court appeal against Mosman Council’s refusal of Mosman Metro Supermarket.
  • Representing Maxida International Pty Ltd in Land and Environment Court appeal against Sydney City Council’s refusal of staged concept development application, including early works and Stage 2, for large scale mixed-use Development known as ‘One Sydney Park’.
  • Representing developer in Land and Environment Court appeal against Canterbury Bankstown Council in relation to development application for five residential flat buildings and 62 terraces in Milton Street, Ashbury.
  • Representing SLD Development Pty Ltd in Land and Environment Court Appeal against Ku-ring-gai Council for 37 residential apartments in Roseville
  • Advising Sydney hotel consortium on regulatory issues raised by Sydney City Council.
  • Acting in first waste to energy facility merit appeal in the Land and Environment Court of NSW.
  • Advising Lyon Group on planning and development matters related to various large scale mixed commercial and residential developments in Gosford and Epping.
  • Advising Lyon Group on development proposal for large scale residential subdivision on greenfield site in Kellyville.
  • Advising large international property developer on proposed redevelopment of 400 hectare site, adjoining RAMSAR wetland, including advice on regulatory enforcement matters.
  • Advising two Sydney private educational facilities on development proposals to upgrade and expand school facilities.
  • Advising on and acting in large scale residential rural subdivision (complex) in northern NSW.
  • Advising private certifiers Blackett McGuire Goldsmith, on various compliance matters for large scale development projects in greater Sydney area.

Professional Memberships / Accreditation & Activities

  • Member of Environment and Planning Law Associate
  • Member Women Lawyer Association of NSW





Rayne Nelms

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