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Court decisions in 2023


In 2023, the courts released a significant number of decisions in dealing with environmental compliance. We will discuss the key features of these cases, the trends which emerge, and the lessons which can be taken from these decisions.

The ultimate test for enforcement action is in a hearing.  In a hearing, the enforcement action is subject to scrutiny from a judge, and challenge from the other parties.  All aspect of the enforcement action can be challenged, from evidence gathering, to the drafting of abatement notices or enforcement orders, to the substance of a charge, to the appropriate interpretation of a plan provision or consent condition. 

Through these hearings, and in the decisions which follow we have an insight into the minds of the judiciary, and their views on enforcement action. Their decisions and the guidance they give in those decisions help us understand how to be successful in enforcement bringing enforcement action.  We also understand what challenges offenders may bring to enforcement action, whether to the substance, or to the form.

Through these decisions we also develop an understanding of what types of serious offending is happening across New Zealand.   We are also facing reform in environmental compliance.  We will consider whether any prior decisions help us understand what the court may be expecting in enforcement proceedings following this reform.

Come along to develop an understanding of what the courts have been concerned with over 2023, and how that can help with enforcement action in the future.


Thursday 2 November



Stephen Quinn
Partner, DLA Piper


Stephen Quinn is a litigation partner who specialises in environmental, infrastructure, building and local government litigation.   He has extensive enforcement experience, acting for a range of Councils across the  country.  He has provided advice on enforcement options, and appeared before the Environment Court, District Court and High Court on enforcement matters. 


Kate Rogers
Senior Associate, DLA Piper


Kate has a focus on environmental enforcement matters, and has acted  for a range of councils  in prosecutions, applications for enforcement orders and abatement notices, and providing general enforcement advice.   She has been involved in prosecutions on a range of topics,including noise, earthworks, forestry, vehicle hoarding, occupation of the CMA, and notable trees. 


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