Helen Macfarlane Headshot

Helen Macfarlane


Call Helen +61 2 8915 1004
Call Helen +61 402 891 446

"One of my key strengths is my tenacity. I strive for the best outcome possible for my clients, whether it is advice work or litigation. I want them to achieve their objectives as much as they do. My clients trust me as part of their team."

The advice Helen gives to clients is clear, concise and straightforward.

If the manner in which her clients seek to achieve their outcomes won’t work, she tells them the complete story and then finds a realistic, practical, timely and cost effective solution.

Despite her extensive experience in Land and Environment Court litigation, Helen aims to keep her clients out of Court proceedings where possible because of time and cost impacts. Where proceedings are unavoidable, she endeavours to ensure that the issues in dispute are contained and the proceedings are conducted as expeditiously as possible.

Linear Group/Abacus — acted in relation to its residential development One A within the Ashmore Precinct including negotiating the terms of, and drafting a voluntary planning agreement; negotiating and drafting Access Deeds with other developer landowners within the precinct and negotiating the extinguishment of easements burdening and benefitting the development site.

University of Sydney — advised in relation to the availability of exempt development and complying development provisions in State Environmental Planning Policies for the University’s properties listed as State heritage items, local heritage items and/or located within heritage conservation areas.

Kentelmax Pty Limited/Mrs Banks Hotel — acted in relation to the redevelopment of the heritage listed, former Commonwealth Bank site at Paddington for the purposes of a boutique hotel. Issues included an ongoing dispute with the neighbouring property concerning the rights conferred by the right of carriageway burdening the adjoining property, and benefiting the client’s site.

Coolmore Australia — acted in relation to its successful objection to a Part 3A application and a subsequent State Significant development application for the Drayton South Coal Mine Project in the Hunter Valley proposed next door to Coolmore’s world renowned thoroughbred breeding farm at Jerrys Plains.

Bega Cheese — advised on environment and planning issues in relation to proposed business and asset acquisitions as part of the due diligence process. (Projects Green Light, Jerry and Tower).

InvoCare Australia — acted in relation to the compulsory acquisition of two leasehold interests in Frenchs Forest by Transport for NSW for roadwork upgrades associated with the Northern Beaches Hospital, and its leasehold interest in North Sydney, acquired by Sydney Metro for the purposes of the proposed Victoria Cross Station in North Sydney.

Lindsay Bennelong — advised in relation to a development application for a proposed data centre at Artarmon.


Best Lawyers in Australia™ — Planning and Environment Law — NSW — 2021 - 2025

Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession — Leading Planning and Development Lawyers: Recommended — NSW — 2018 - 2022, 2024

Doyle’s Guide — Leading Environment & Climate Change Lawyers: Recommended — NSW — 2019 - 2022

Committees and memberships

Alternate Member, NSW Heritage Council, 2000 - 2001

Member, Property Committee of the Sydney Catholic Archdiocese, 2015

Member, Environmental Planning Law Association

Member, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Urban Development Institute of Australia (NSW), 2019

Member, Planning and Regulatory Reform Committee, Urban Development Institute of Australia (NSW), 2005 - 2015


Property and Commercial Development


Energy & Resources





Mining, Oil & Gas


Real Estate


Retirement Village

Waste Management

Other areas of expertise


Liquor licensing

Valuation and compulsory acquisition

Senior housing


Bachelor of Arts/Laws (Honours), University of Sydney