Catherine is a solicitor and a registered architect with a range of experience across both professions. She has been employed as a planning law solicitor since 2005, providing clients with an in-depth perspective on the statutory planning framework and its relationship with architecture.
What she does
Catherine's unique combination of skills in law and architecture enables her to provide practical advice from a range of viewpoints. Her experience helps her to manage clients' expectations and deliver timely and effective results.
Catherine provides regular advice to council and private clients on various aspects of planning law. She has been involved in extensive litigation the Supreme Court and the Land and Environment Court, typically involving judicial review, easements proceedings, contempt proceedings and merits appeals from the actual or deemed refusal of development applications. Catherine has also represented a local council in Code of Conduct proceedings, which were taken to the High Court and has appeared for clients in various local courts and in NCAT.
Catherine is an experienced mediator and has been able to regularly negotiate favourable outcomes for clients, often through conciliation.
Who she works with
Catherine's clients include local councils, property developers and private clients.
Catherine holds a Bachelor of Science (Design), a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Law and Legal Practice degree.
Life before Sparkes
Before joining Sparke Helmore in 2008, Catherine worked at the Department of Planning where she gained an excellent grounding in planning law. In that role, she provided in-house legal advice on the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) and Regulation, the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW), Fisheries Management Act 1994 (NSW) and the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW), and was involved in litigation on behalf of the Minister for Planning. She also worked at HWL Ebsworth in Sydney.
Life outside of Sparkes
During her undergraduate degree in architecture, Catherine studied in a masterclass of urban design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, which sparked an ongoing interest in the built environment and urban design. Outside of work, she has numerous creative pursuits—she is an avid reader and following a year-long architectural dissertation on the urban design of Tuscan hill towns, she is also a committed Italophile. Catherine speaks Italian and (although much of the time with closed eyes) has also mastered the art of driving (and surviving!) in Italy (side mirrors, anyone?).