Clare Lenihan (LLB. MusB)

Environmental & Public Law Barrister



Resource Management Law

Clare has extensive Resource Management Law experience including running cases for both applicants and submitters, ranging from the complex (seeking 30 resource consents from different agencies for the Cleddau Flood Protection project at Milford Sound; a reference on a proposed Coastal Plan involving 12 witnesses), to the more mundane.

Clare has led numerous cases and appeals on Policy Statements and Plans, designations, water conservation orders and resource consents. The issues Clare has dealt with include coastal, commercial surface water activities, marine mammals, freshwater, farm dairy effluent, groundwater abstraction, significant indigenous vegetation.

Specific cases Clare has acted on include:

  • Cleddau River and Milford Sound Village flood protection works RMA consents (district and regional) – a $12 million project.
  • Numerous contentious 1080 hearings for both the West Coast (3) and Southland (3), for brodificaum drop applications (on outlying islands), for an application to aerially spray wildling pines, for wharves at Deep Water Basin Milford Sound/Piopiotahi.
  • Counsel for DOC on the Meridian Manapouri Te Anau Development consent.

Conservation & Tourism Law

After working for the Department of Conservation for 15 years, Clare has an intimate knowledge of the concessions regime of the Conservation Act (leases, licences, permits and easements and tendering of concessions), Conservation Management Strategies and Management Plans, and all aspects of the various pieces of legislation and principles relating to public conservation land. Clare has provided advice on a number of large scale concession applications and concession tenders (where there is a limited opportunity for a particular activity), Reserves Act issues, marine mammals legislation, marine reserves and wild animal control issues.

Emissions Trading Scheme (Forestry)

Clare has provided advice on the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme in relation to forestry and pre-1990 and post-1989 land and was involved in preparing and calling for tenders for establishing carbon forest sinks on land managed by the Department of Conservaiton.


Clare has provided advice on a wide variety of legislation but has particular expertise in the following:

  • Resource Management Act 1991
  • National Parks Act 1980 Conservation Act 1987, Reserves Act 1977, Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978, Marine Reserves Act 1971, Wild Animal Control Act 1977, Wildlife Act 1953
  • Official Information Act 1982, Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 and Privacy Act 1993
  • Climate Change Response Act 2002 (forestry and the Emissions Trading Scheme)
  • Health and Safety in Employment Act 1993 and Occupiers Liability Act 1962
  • Commerce Act 1986
  • Biosecurity Act 1993


Clare has compiled and delivered a number of training packages over the years both for central government and private clients including:

  • Administrative Law/Judicial Review/good decision making
  • Contracts and tendering
  • Compliance and law enforcement
  • Official Information Act 1982 and Privacy Act 1993
  • Concessions and concession tendering
  • Carbon sink farming on land managed by the Department of Conservation and the Emissions Trading Scheme
  • Resource Management Act 1991

Local Government

Clare has provided advice to local authorities on Reserves Act management plans and has an indepth knowledge on the law relating to unformed legal roads.