Clifford Ireland

Clifford Ireland

Listed in “The Best Lawyers in Australia” 2025 for:

  • Climate Change Law (since 2023)
  • Construction/Infrastructure Law (since 2022)
  • Land Use and Zoning Law (2025)
  • Planning & Environmental Law (since 2020)
  • Real Property Law (since 2021)
  • Water Law (since 2022) –  “Lawyer of the Year in 2023 and 2025”

Listed in “The Best Lawyers in Australia” 2024 for:

  • Planning & Environmental Law (since 2020)
  • Real Property Law (since 2021)
  • Construction/Infrastructure Law
  • Water Law (since 2022)

Listed by Doyles Guide as a Leading Environmental and Planning  junior counsel, 2023 and since 2013

Clifford has authored the following publications:

Admitting Evidence of pre-contract negotiations” – June 2010, Vol 48 No.5 LSJ

Environmental planning in the public interest and private property rights: The role of s 28 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 NSW” – (2010) 15 LGLJ 155

Should Private Property Rights Trump The Public Interest in Renewal of the Urban Environment” – November 2009, Volume 15, Local Government Law Journal at 86

Climate Change Litigation and Planning Law” – Paper, NSW Bar Association Journal, 2008

An in Depth Look at 4 Recent Climate Change Cases 28 February 2024

NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal: Retail Lease Jurisdiction paper 23 March 2023


Bachelor of Arts, University of Sydney

Bachelor of Laws (Honours I), University of Sydney

Master of Laws, University of Sydney

Professional experience

Solicitor and Senior Associate, Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst)

Research Assistant, Land and Environment Court of New South Wales

Recent and Significant Cases

  • Bronger v Greenway Health Centre Pty Ltd t/as Greenway Plaza Pharmacy [2023] NSWCA 104 Brereton JA, Beech-Jones JA, Mitchelmore JA – Appeal – Judicial Review. Appearing for the Appellant. Appeal allowed. Orders made by Pain J on 27/7/2022 set aside and new orders inserted granting injunctive relief preventing the Respondent from conducting a “retail pharmacy” as part of a medical complex at the Greenway Medical Centre, Wetherill Park. Costs in favour of the Appellant.
  • Greenway Health Centre Pty Ltd Trading as Greenway Plaza Pharmacy ACN 620 125 019 v Bronger & Anor [2023] HCASL 148 (12/10/2023) Jagot J (On the papers) – Special Leave application, appearing for the Respondent on a question of law – judicial review application. Special Leave application dismissed with costs.
  • 107 High Nth Sydney Pty Ltd v North Sydney Council [2023] NSWLEC 1231– Sydney development: When is it reasonable to obscure a neighbour’s Harbour Bridge views? Written about in the Sydney Morning Herald, 20 May 2023.
  • Site R & D Pty Ltd v Byron Shire Council [2022] NSWLEC 1121 Significant subdivision development in Byron Bay Shire, successfully approved by the NSW Land & Environment Court in a merits appeal decision handed down on 8 March 2022, by Commissioner Chilcott after a 9 day hearing. Clifford appeared for the Joint Venture Applicants who appealed the refusal by the Northern Regional Planning Panel, under delegation from Byron Shire Council (the Respondent) of the Applicant’s DA seeking consent to subdivide land in two separate areas forming part of the West Byron Urban Release Area (WBURA). Complex issues included: the Applicant’s requests to vary development standards under SEPP 1; whether the Site contained core koala habitat, potential impacts on frog habitat, and biodiversity impacts, including proposed tree removal; acceptable design of road access to industrial land and the satisfaction of all jurisdictional requirements. This is an important decision for planning and environmental law as it addresses complex planning and environmental issues and resolves them in a lengthy and detailed judgment which may have application for similar future cases.
  • Secretary, Department of Planning and Environment v Goodman Property Services (Aust) Pty Ltd; Secretary, Department of Planning and Environment v Burton Contractors Pty Ltd T/as Burton Civil Engineering Contractors (No 2) [2021] NSWLEC 34 – Successfully argued, appearing unled, that criminal charges brought by the NSW Department of Planning were legally defective.
  • Mangoola Coal Operations Pty Limited v Muswellbrook Shire Council [2021] NSWCA 46 – This was a rating and land valuation case, the amounts in issue being many millions of dollars, and concerning the rating categorisation of land surrounding one of the largest open cut coal mines in Australia. Was buffer land surrounding a mine categorised as “mining” or “farming”?   Also appeared at trial: [2020] NSWLEC 66 (11 June 2020).
  • Tropic Asphalts Pty Ltd v Snowy Monaro Regional Council [2021] NSWCCA 24 – Appearing unled for the Prosecutor in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal, successfully defended a decision of Moore J (dated 16 September 2020 [2020] NSWLEC 136), against an application under s 5F of the Criminal Appeal Act 1912 (NSW) for leave to appeal. The defendant argued the subpoena was tainted by improper purpose and illegality.
  • Palm Beach Protection Group Inc v Northern Beaches Council (No 2) [2020] NSWLEC 181 (15 December 2020) and Palm Beach Protection Group Incorporated v Northern Beaches Council [2020] NSWLEC 156 (20 November 2020) – Successful environmental or public interest judicial review proceedings, before Preston CJ of LEC, Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court.
  • Kiangatha Holdings Pty Ltd v Water NSW [2020] NSWCCA 263 (19 October 2020) – NSW Court of Criminal Appeal. Successfully appealed a decision of the NSW Land & Environment Court (20 December 2019) arguing that the Prosecutors’ summonses were bad for duplicity. The case lays down some important guidelines for the guidance of prosecutors in the area of environmental crime, concerning the need for precision in pleading.
  • Menangle Sand and Soil Pty Ltd v Minister for Planning [2020] NSWLEC 1425 – Successful merits review appeal to the NSW Land & Environment Court against a decision of the Minister for Planning refusing a modification application of an existing consent seeking the extension of a major sand mining operation or quarry for the purpose of extraction of sand and soil and ancillary works, for a further 15 years of operation. The quarry in question had originally supplied the sand used for the concrete used in the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • AMT Planning Consultants Pty Ltd t/as Coastplan Consulting v Central Coast Council [2018] NSWCA 289 – successfully defended an appeal concerning the character of the use of the land for which development consent was granted for the purposes of establishing an “existing use” under sections (formerly known as) 106 and 107(1)(b)(i) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EPA Act)
  • EPA v Wellington [2017] NSWLEC 8; (2017) 222 LGERA 31 – successfully argued that the Class 5 criminal proceedings concerning a pollution incident leading to the pollution of the Macquarie River from the council’s sewage treatment plant should be dismissed on legal grounds.
  • EPA v Riverina [2015] NSWCCA 165; (2015) 90 NSWLR 57 successfully defending serious criminal charges under the POEO Act brought against client who was a manufacturer of stockfeed. Leading decision on duplicity of criminal charges in environmental crime.


Clifford is the Editor of the “Local Government –  Finance – Actionable Liability” section of Lexis Nexis’ Local Government Planning & Environment NSW Service.

An in Depth Look at 4 Recent Climate Change Cases 28 February 2024

NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal: Retail Lease Jurisdiction paper 23 March 2023