Since her appointment in 2017 as a Sessional Member in the Planning & Environment List of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Picha can no longer accept retainers to appear in VCAT. Her appointment has no affect on her practise as a barrister elsewhere where she continues to practise predominately in Queensland and the other States.
In 2020, Picha was recognised in Doyle's List of Leading Planning and Environment Barristers.
Principal Areas of Practice
Land, Planning and Environment Law:
o Planning and Environment Law
o Property Law
o Compulsory Acquisition and Valuation
Picha has a current multi-jurisdictional practice and extensive litigation and advisory experience which provide a unique capability to provide high level strategic advice on legislative reform and planning policy. Her ongoing litigation work informs and compliments her advisory and project management capabilities and provides clients with strategic and practical options particularly directed to desired identified outcomes.
She has extensive experience in all aspects of planning processes and advising clients involved in development from both sides of the fence. Her experience extends to advising on large scale tourism projects, green field residential developments, major shopping centre and warehouse developments and projects in environmentally sensitive locations.
Picha's extensive expertise as a barrister and advisor has been established having drawn upon the conduct of planning and environment litigation on behalf of many local governments and developers throughout Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
She has authored and conducted many training programs for government officers, councillors and the development industry on a variety of issues including manager responsibilities/due diligence, the Victorian, Queensland and New South Wales Planning Acts, the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Conservation Biodiversity Act; and prosecution and enforcement officer training.
Picha has also been called on to present addresses at a variety of significant conferences and seminars throughout Australia, such as presentations at seminars on management responsibilities and state based and national planning issues.
In addition to her many legal presentations, Picha has written a variety of manuals on topics involving the Health Act, the Queensland Integrated Development Assessment System, drafting of statutory notices and standard development conditions.
She has served as the Treasurer of the Women’s Planning Network Victoria, been a State Vice President of the Queensland Environmental Law Association and delivers seminars to the Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association on comparative planning jurisdictional issues.
Picha has extensive experience in matters involving Administrative Law and all aspects of Judicial and Merits Review.
Her main areas of practice in public law, comprises:
review of administrative decisions (mainly judicial review proceedings in the courts, but sometimes also merits review in administrative tribunals);
construction and application of particular statutory regimes; and
Freedom of Information Law
Picha is considered one of the country's best practitioners in this area. She has extensive legal and practical knowledge of the various State and Federal statutory regimes concerning FOI.
Her practice includes advice and appearances involving:
Seeking Access under Freedom of Information Legislation
Giving Access under Freedom of Information Legislation
Exceptions to Access under Freedom of Information Legislation
Amendment of Records under Freedom of Information Legislation
Reviews and Appeals under Freedom of Information Legislation
Gambling Regulation and Control
Picha has practised in this specialist area for a number of years and has gained significant and extensive experience as Counsel assisting the Gaming Licensing Project of the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.
The Commission is the independent statutory authority that administers Victoria’s liquor and gambling laws.
Picha’s role as Counsel Assisting the project covered a period of almost 12 months advising the Commission and appearing at hearings.
Since commencing practice at the Bar Picha has appeared in a number of significant cases (in her own right and also being led by Queen's Counsel and Senior Counsel).
She has also appeared in the Family Court of Australia in corporate and property matters and the Federal Circuit Court in both its family and general jurisdictions but principally in the following areas:
• Financial Agreements
• Property Disputes
• Parenting Disputes
• Spousal Maintenance
• Crimes Family Violence
• Intervention Orders
• Defacto Property Disputes
In the general commercial/corporate law area her matters have involved interlocutory applications, trials and appeals in all aspects of commercial law and in Bankruptcy and Corporations Act matters. These have covered Corporate Governance and Insolvency Law issues in the Corporate Insolvency area which have provided significant case development in cases under Part 5.3A Corporations Act in respect of administrations and insolvencies. In one of these matters she was junior counsel when the matter went to the High Court of Australia.