Skip to main content
Norman Waterhouse
Our Governance and Public Law practitioners are specialists in assisting government authorities to fulfil their public functions lawfully, accountably and effectively.

Our approach

The legislative framework governing public authorities is subject to regular structural change. Our team provides legal advice and solutions to help authorities adapt to the constantly shifting legal contexts in which they operate.

In particular, our team have been providing legal advice to councils for almost 100 years. Focusing on providing pragmatic and effective governance advice, we assist councils in discharging their functions in an efficient and accountable manner.

Why Choose our Team?

  • Integrity is at the core of our approach to legal practice.
  • We take a holistic approach to managing your legal risks.
  • Our team members possess unrivalled experience in all aspects of government decision making, ensuring that you receive the best possible legal advice which recognises the practical and political realities of government decision making.
  • We have a proven record of providing advice in a timely and cost effective way.
  • Our practitioners sit on a range of industry boards and associations, giving them firsthand knowledge of processes, practices and procedures across government.

Key Experience

  • Successfully represented South Australian local government in a High Court challenge to the validity of council by-law making power.
  • Conduct regular training (including accredited training) for CEOs, Mayors, elected members, senior council staff and authorised officers regarding roles, responsibilities and powers.
  • Engaged by State government authorities to provide legal advice and assistance.
  • Represent councils in complex Supreme Court challenges to the validity of a wide variety of administrative decisions made by elected bodies and council officers.
  • Acted for local government in Court of Disputed Returns challenge relating to the integrity of local government elections.
  • Assist councils to manage and investigate complex complaints regarding council decision making and elected member conduct.
  • Advise on the delegation framework for local government across the State.


  • General governance obligations
  • Roles and responsibilities of authorities and officers
  • Internal review of decisions
  • Judicial review of decisions and other litigation
  • Delegations and authorisations
  • Freedom of information and privacy
  • Code of conduct and conflict of interest
  • Rates imposition and recovery
  • Council meeting procedures
  • Local Government elections
  • Ombudsman and ICAC enquiries
  • Public Interest Disclosures
Get in touch