Deborah Riley - Special Counsel



BA, LLB University of Auckland

Areas of expertise

Resource management law, Environment law, Local government law, Public law


Deborah joined Brookfields in 2012 after returning from the UK where she gained useful international experience working in local and regional authorities' in-house legal teams in London and Essex. Before going overseas, she was in the Auckland City Council Planning and Regulatory Services Team where her work included advancing building compliance cases and a range of other matters involving the planning policy team. This means that she applies her knowledge of local authority regulatory and policy development to achieve practical outcomes for clients, with a deep practical understanding of the client prospective.

In her time at Brookfields, Deborah has managed a large and varied caseload including acting as lead counsel in navigating a number of District Plans through the appeals process as well as managing enforcement proceedings and resource consent appeals.

Deborah's experience includes:

  • Managing a large portion of the ongoing Thames-Coromandel District Plan appeals process involving providing advice from Council-hearing stage through appeal negotiations, Court-assisted mediations and consent order preparation as well as appearances for matters that were heard by the Environment Court
  • Preparing and managing various enforcement order and prosecution proceedings for councils as enforcement authority (both building compliance and District Plan breaches)
  • Advising Whakatane District Council and Hauraki District Council in relation to the settlement of the appeals to their Proposed District Plans, all of which were resolved through negotiations and Court-assisted mediation with the exception of one minor matter heard by the Environment Court, thus avoiding hearing time and its associated costs
  • Extensive involvement in the Auckland Unitary Plan legal review and involvement in providing advice and support and appearances at mediation, hearings and appeals to the High Court
  • Providing advice on resource consents and acting on resource consent appeals including attending Court-assisted mediations and appearing at Environment Court hearings
  • Providing advice on a range of other local government matters including democratic processes, delegations and council-controlled organisations, development contributions and rates