David King


David is an experienced planning and environment lawyer.

For a number of years, David worked in local government and was a building surveyor, town planner and rose to the position of chief executive officer. In 1994 when councils were amalgamated David completed his law degree and went on to work for one of Australia’s largest law firm Minter Ellison, in their Melbourne office and practised in their planning and environment division.

David opened Kings Lawyers in Geelong in 2010, was awarded specialist accreditation by the Law Institute Victoria and has provided valuable advice to a diverse range of developers and guided them to successful outcomes on both small and large developments.

Kings Lawyers specialises in town planning matters and regularly appears at VCAT and the Supreme Court in relation to town planning disputes. In addition David’s local government experience means that he is respected by local councils and provides an opening to be able to negotiate positive outcomes without the need for the expense and delays of formal proceedings in VCAT or the courts.

David also advises and guides development applications, subdivisions, rezoning’s, restrictive covenants and planning and building legislation interpretation.

Areas of expertise

Town Planning

David has been operating in the planning and environment sector for more than 35 years both in the public and private sectors including:

  • Land Use and Development advice is the main focus of Kings Lawyers. David advises on the relevant planning controls affecting land and the likelihood of success of any proposed use or development. He provides clear and succinct advice which brings clarity to the maze of requirements, regulations, laws, policies and processes which surround land use and development.
  • Planning Permit advice including what permits are required, what statutory processes need to be followed, what information should be submitted and what experts will be needed to prepare a permit application with the greatest likelihood of success.
  • Council negotiations, this is an important part in the town planning process, often councils misinterpret the legislation and or the planning scheme controls. This can have dire consequences for a planning permit. David reviews and negotiates where necessary with Council officers and other referral authorities who have input into the permit process.
  • Interpretation of Planning Schemes, restrictive covenants and other restrictions and their effects on land. Commonly David provides written advice/opinions to developers and owners in support of a planning permit application.
  • Section 173 agreements are private agreements often required by Council’s to bind the owner and future owners of land to certain planning outcomes. David has successfully prepared in excess of 100 agreements all of which have been agreed to by Council and subsequently registered on title.
  • Structure Planning and Development contributions are an ever increasing part of Greenfields development. David advises and negotiates on these. He has been involved in the Armstrong Creek Growth Area and more recently in the Northern and Western Geelong Growth Areas Project.
  • Restrictive covenants are private controls that can restrict the use and development of land. A common restrictive covenant is known as ‘a single dwelling covenant’. These often have a significant devaluation effect on land and takes away development potential. David has represented many clients in ending or amending covenants with a 100% success rate.
  • VCAT appeals and advice. Invariably there are disputes from changes brought about by planning permit applications, most commonly between developers and residents. He has an excellent success rate. David has a close working relationship with both senior and junior Counsel and has often appeared as instructing solicitor at hearings both in VCAT and the Supreme Court. With technology improvements and pandemic restrictions many hearings both in VCAT and the court are being held on electronic platform. David has successfully attended these hearings and it is as expected that these will become more common.
  • Planning Panels Victoria is a government department that assesses and makes recommendations to both councils and the Minister in relation to new proposals. David regularly appears and or case manage hearings. He also arranges for suitable expert witnesses to address the panels.

Building Regulations

David has extensive experience in building control and regulatory matters. David’s previous experience and qualifications prior to entering the law provides him with a distinct advantage. David was a building surveyor in both private and government practice.

He attends and represents people and projects in the Building List at VCAT, Building Appeals Board, Building Practitioners Board and the Magistrates Court.

David regularly advises and negotiates on behalf of clients that have had either a building notice, building order or emergency ordered issued in relation to their projects by the relevant building surveyor. This is a very regulated area of the law and if mishandled can result in significant fines on either owners or builders being levied.

Protection of adjoining property is a statutory process which often has the potential to slow a project down. It is important that the processes are followed and important that appropriate insurances are in place so that if any damage does occur the repair and rectification is covered by insurance.  David has considerable experience with these and often ‘brokers’ a deal between the competing parties.


Kings Lawyers have extensive experience in this area and can provide advice and representation in the following matters

  • Subdivision of land including advising whether a subdivision is possible, the need and use of licensed surveyors and alternatives to subdivision such as long-term leases. David regularly case manages the whole subdivision process predominantly obtaining or facilitating the necessary permissions from government and servicing authorities such as drainage, power, water, gas and NBN.
  • Easements provide a legal right to carry out some type of activity over another person’s land e.g. a carriageway. There are many different types of easements some historic and some unnecessarily restrict the use of the land. David has negotiated the removal and creation of a number of easements.
  • Restrictive covenants can be amended or ended through a council process or through section 84 of the Property Law Act in the Supreme Court of Victoria. Again this is a very specialised area and one which Kings Lawyers have successfully represented a number of clients.
  • Owners corporations/body corporate disputes are a regular part of living within a more compact city. With an ever increasing number of units being developed in high density housing it is inevitable that disputes arise.
  • Compulsory Acquisition occurs when a council or public authority invokes special powers to acquire your property against your will. Whilst you cannot prevent the acquisition David has on many occasions ensured that the dispossessed owner obtains appropriate financial compensation for the loss.
  • Boundary disputes and adverse possession claims commonly arise when new development or new fencing is planned on a boundary line. David has assisted many clients to resolve these disputes and or to get orders on the types and cost sharing arrangements for boundary fences.
  • Water disputes regularly occur where neighbours unreasonably altar the flow of water across the property boundary. This can have devastating effects on anyone that is downstream. Kings Lawyers have been involved in a number of long and protracted water disputes which have been successfully resolved at VCAT.

Local Government

Kings Lawyers have extensive experience in this area and can provide advice and representation in the following matters

  • Negotiating with senior offices, CEO and councillors
  • Planning Scheme interpretation and affects
  • Special rates schemes
  • Local Laws
  • Valuation Appeals
  • Nuisance and public health and well-being matters

Key Achievements

Select examples of David’s planning experience include:

  • obtaining planning permits for multi storey, multi-unit residential and commercial developments
  • rezoning farm land to residential land
  • defending owners against Council prosecutions and enforcement orders
  • varying and ending restrictive covenants
  • negotiating the creation of easements in both rural and city areas
  • successfully applying for modifications to the building regulations to allow the redevelopment of a heritage home


David was awarded a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Deakin University in 1999. He has also been awarded a Graduate Diploma of Urban And Regional Planning from  RMIT in 1991 as well as a Diploma of Building Surveying from Swinburne Institute in 1985.

In 2015 David was awarded specialist accreditation in Planning, Environment and Local Government Law from the Law Institute of Victoria. He is the only Accredited Specialist in the Geelong region.