government lawyer

When it comes to understanding government

We’re your legal partners

Kott Gunning’s Government (Local Government) team is one of the most experienced in Western Australia. We’ve been working with metropolitan and regional local governments for more than 30 years. Kott Gunning is a preferred legal supplier on the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) panel. We also advise state government departments and authorities, and private sector organisations that work closely with government. Our longstanding solicitors offer stability and consistency. We know the issues, and we’re widely trusted to provide relevant, up-to-date advice.


Our Government team has attracted some of the best people in the field. The team is led by Partner Anne Wood who was an advisor to various state government ministers prior to pursuing a career in law. Her knowledge is invaluable to her work in statutory interpretation. Partners Emma Leys and Tom Darbyshire, Consultant Brenton Oakley, Senior Associate Philip Mavor and Associate Carol Hamilton further consolidates our considerable expertise in local and state government matters. Kott Gunning’s solid public sector work is supported by our expertise in the private sector.

We understand the commercial and practical considerations that impact on government projects and provide a full range of services in commercial and litigation matters.

WALGA’s Executive Manager Governance and Organisational Services Tony Brown said,

“Kott Gunning Lawyers are a valued, longstanding member of WALGA’s Preferred Supplier Panel for legal services to Local Governments in Western Australia. The approachability and legal knowledge of the team, combined with Anne Wood’s government background, produces a potent mix of skills which enables our Association to work for the best outcomes for our members”.


We act for various levels of government, and understand the unique framework and objectives of the public sector. We work with public servants, ministers, parliamentary committees, and government departments and agencies. We act on all matters involving government, from interpreting legislation to appearing on matters in all courts and jurisdictions. Some recent examples of our work and results for clients include:

  • Advising several local governments on the review of their waste and recycling contracts.
  • Mocilac v City of Fremantle [2014] WASC 56, an appeal which confirmed Kott Gunning’s previously unconfirmed statutory interpretation of the Planning and Development Act 2005 and the Criminal Procedure Act 2004.
  • Representing local government clients in town planning appeals to the Minister for Planning, the Town Planning Appeals Tribunal and the State Administrative Tribunal.
  • Acting for local governments on various planning and building prosecutions. Some of our recent prosecutions include factories built without building permits, failing to comply with a Planning Direction Notice to remove unauthorized structures from a private laneway, operating a restaurant without planning approval, and construction work on heritage sites without approval.
  • Advising on the payment of rates in accordance with the interpretation of an “owner” under section 1.4 and the liability of an owner to pay rates under section 6.44(1) of the Local Government Act 1995.
  • Advising on expanding the definition of a prescribed service to include “water supply” under regulation 54(c) of the Local Government (Finance Management) Regulations 1966. When finalised, this will enable local government to impose a service charge for “water supply” on owners and occupiers within a defined part of the district pursuant to section 6.38 of the Local Government Act 1995.
  • Giving advice concerning defamation of elected members and officers.
  • Assisting with the drafting of a contract for a local government to supply waste to a waste-to-energy plant and advising on statutory compliance.
  • Drafting contracts for the supply of parking meters to a local government and the provision of supporting services to that local government by another local government.
  • Conducting probity audits in conjunction with tenders.
  • Acting for local governments, state government departments and statutory body corporates on the complete range of property and commercial services.

What we do

  • Amalgamation, boundary changes and structural reforms
  • Administrative law
  • Asbestos-related litigation and advice
  • Asset sales, corporatisation and privatisation
  • Building and Construction law
  • Compulsory land acquisition
  • Corporate, Commercial and Finance law
  • Common law compliance
  • Contract drafting, review and negotiation
  • Councillor conduct
  • Conveyancing and settlements
  • Coronial inquiries
  • Drafting of local laws
  • Defamation
  • Environmental health
  • Employment law
  • Funding agreements and grants
  • Freedom of information
  • Heritage
  • Intellectual property
  • Infrastructure projects
  • Infrastructure development and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs)
  • Judicial review and merits review
  • Native title
  • Occupiers Liability
  • Privacy
  • Probity and governance
  • Planning and development
  • Property sales and acquisitions, leasing and licensing
  • Prosecutions and enforcement
  • Public sector litigation and dispute resolution
  • Roads
  • Rates
  • Statutory interpretation
  • Tendering and procurement