Denis McLeod


Denis established the practice now known as McLeods in 1980. He has represented local governments for over 45 years and has extensive knowledge of all areas of local government activity.

Well known for his contribution to planning in Western Australia, Denis was honoured with Life Membership of the Local Government Planners Association in 1991, Honorary Fellowship of the Planning Institute of Australia in 1993, and Adjunct Professor at UWA in 2008. He has taught Planning Law to planning students continuously since 1979, at Curtin University for 35 Years, and presently at UWA.

Denis is Convenor of the Law Society’s Environment Town Planning and Local Government Committee, and is a member of the Law Society Council.

Denis, over 47 years of practice, has written many articles and papers principally on planning law and local government law topics.

He was a co-editor of the Planning Digest in the early days of the independent planning appeal system in the 1980s, is currently General Editor of the service ‘Planning & Development WA’ (Presidian Legal Publications) and in 2015 published the text WA Planning Law Handbook.


Particular aspects of Denis’ experience include:

  • Over 45 years of advising and representing local governments, their Council members and their officers in relation to all aspects of local government functions.
  • Advising on the form, funding and documentation of substantial development and redevelopment projects involving local governments.
  • Conducting hundreds of planning appeals in the former Town Planning Appeal Tribunal and now the State Administrative Tribunal.
  • Conducting numerous trials and appeals in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Federal Court and High Court of Australia.
  • Drafting numerous district zoning schemes, development schemes, including the first WA Redevelopment Scheme, and numerous local laws, including consolidated local laws.
  • Successfully defending challenges in the Supreme Court of the validity of development schemes, and challenges to local government decisions and processes.
  • Special experience in drafting and administration of scheme provisions for Structure Plans and Development Contribution Plans, and associated litigation and documentation, and special knowledge of the significance and consequences of changes to the WA planning regime resulting from the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015.
  • For his service to local government Denis has been honoured by special recognition of the City of Swan, the City of Belmont and in 2014 was recognised as Honorary Freeman of the Town of Claremont.


M Phil (Urban Studies) (UWA)
Admission as Barrister & Solicitor (WA, 1968)
Adjunct Professor UWA