Matthew Townsend Portrait

Matthew Townsend

Bar roll 1997 Admitted 1994
  • Commercial Law Public Law
Read more
Matthew Townsend has more than 20 years' experience as a barrister and practises almost exclusively in planning and environmental law and the modification and removal of restrictive covenants

He has taught in the Trial Practice and Advocacy program at Monash University and regularly lectures in planning and environmental law at the Leo Cussen Institute. Matthew has also supervised dozens of students for legal research and work experience. 

In 2000 Matthew was awarded the Public Interest Law Clearing House Pro Bono Award by the Governor of Victoria for his work in environmental litigation. He was Dux of International Environmental Law at Leiden University in Holland in 1992 and was the inaugural winner of the JF Kearney, QC prize in environmental law in 1991. 

Matthew maintains Restrictive Covenants in Victoria, a website providing casenotes and resources about the modification and removal of restrictive covenants in Victoria.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under the Professional Standards Legislation


Chambers & Clerk

Owen Dixon Chambers East
Level 13 Rooms 4 and 5

205 William Street

Melbourne VIC 3000

View map

Jane King

03 9225 8558


Commercial Law
  • Energy & Resources
  • Real Property
Public Law
  • Environment
  • Planning & Local Government



Bachelor of Laws (Hons)



Entitled to practise in

State and Territory Courts and Tribunals

Federal Court of Australia

High Court of Australia

Recent Cases

Restrictive Covenants

Conlan v Benton & Ors [2017] VSC 244--a declaration and variation concerning a single dwelling covenant in a strip shopping centre in Essendon

Clare & Ors v Bedelis [2016] VSC 381--a declaration considering a "single storey" restrictive covenant in Wheelers Hill

MacLurkin v Searle [2015] VSC 750--the variation of a single dwelling covenant in Boronia

Prowse v Johnstone (No. 2)[2015] VSC 621--declaration concerning the validity of a restrictive covenant in the Coonil Estate in Malvern

Gardencity v Grech & Ors [2015] VSC 538--the variation of a building materials restrictive covenant in Altona

Re Morrison [2015] VSC 269--the variation of a single dwelling covenant on Beach Road in Mentone

Wong v McConville & Ors [2014] VSC 148--the variation of a single dwelling restrictive covenant in Pascoe Vale

Mark William Suhr & Ors v Andrew Gordon Michelmore & Ors [2013] VSC 284--the variation of a height control covenant in South Yarra

Prowse v Johnstone & Ors [2012] VSC 4--the variation of a restrictive covenant and declaration application in the Coonil Estate, Malvern

Re: Milbex [2006] VSC 298--the variation of a single dwelling restrictive covenant in Elwood

Re Pivotel [2000] VSC 264--the variation of a single dwelling restrictive covenant in Croydon

Fitt v Luxury Developments Pty Ltd [2000] VSC 258--an injunction to prevent the construction of dwelllings in contravention of a restrictive covenant, prompting the Victorian Parliament to introduce the Planning and Environment (Restrictive Covenants) Act 2000


Amendment C223 to the Stonnington Planning Scheme

535 Hogan’s Road Pty Ltd v Wyndham CC[2017] VCAT 1193

The Ramsay Consultants Pty Ltd v Whitehouse CC[2017] VCAT 153 

KRM Developments Pty Ltd v Banyule CC [2016] VCAT 2027 

BAB Developments Pty Ltd v Whitehorse CC [2016] VCAT 103

Juda v Bayside CC [2016] VCAT 917 

Bagnato v Moreland CC[2016] VCAT 5 

Davies v Maroondah CC[2015] VCAT 653 

Dexel Engineering Pty Ltd v Maribyrnong CC [2014] VCAT 231

Aged/community Care Facilities

Brecat Holdings Pty Ltd v Kingston CC & Ors [2012] VCAT 1321

Talbot v Melton SC [2011] VCAT 196

Director of Housing v Moorabool SC [2009] VCAT 882

Melbourne C117 (PSA) [2007] PPV 14

​ Brothels/Sexually Explicit Entertainment Venues

Ferraro v Kingston CC [2015] VCAT 2015

Plenty River Hotel v Greater Geelong CC [2006] VCAT 674

Primelife Corporation Pty Ltd v Port Phillip CC [2004] VCAT 325

Babalis & Ors v Glen Eira CC and Ors [2003] VCAT 667

Development/Open Space Contributions

Melbourne CC v Minister for Planning [2015] VCAT 412    

Callea Property Developments Pty Ltd v Wyndham CC [2014] VCAT 446                

Dexel Engineering Pty Ltd v Maribyrnong CC [2014] VCAT 231

Carson Simpson Pty Ltd v Casey CC [2006] VCAT 1725

Curry v Melton Shire Council [2000] VSC 352  

Survey Group Earth Tech Engineering v Port Phillip CC [2005] VCAT 2638  

Electronic Gaming Machines

Highlands Hotel Craigieburn Pty Ltd at Highlands Hotel premises [2017] VCGLR 15

Environmental Crime

EPA v Exhaust Control Industries (2006)

EPA v Capral Aluminium Ltd (2002)

EPA v Envirogen (2001)

Freeway Service Centres

Hocking v Cardinia SC [2011] VCAT 1793 

Bredix Pty Ltd v Greater Geelong CC [2009] VCAT 1984 

Carwoode Pty Ltd v Cardinia [2008] VCAT 1334  

Bredix Pty Ltd v Greater Geelong CC [2007] VCAT 818 

Landfill and Rehabilitation

Wheelahan & Anor v City of Casey & Ors (No 5) [2011] VSC 62 

Dennis v A J Baxter Pty Ltd [2008] VCAT 2360 

Skye Environmental Services Pty Ltd v Frankston CC [2006] VCAT 2596 

Medical Centres

68 Kangaroo Road Pty Ltd v Glen Eira CC[2016] VCAT 1028

​Panel Hearings

C89 to the Latrobe Planning Scheme 

C196 into the built form controls for City North 

C190 into the built form controls for Arden Macaulay 

C171 into height limits in Southbank 

C143 (PSA) Kingston Green Wedge

Licensed Premises and Place of Assembly

Tuhan v Moira SC [2016] VCAT 235 

Robertson v Yarra CC [2014] VCAT 571 

Righele v Darebin CC [2012] VCAT 829

AA Holdings Pty Ltd v Boroondara CC [2013] VCAT 437

Orangechapel Pty Ltd v Director of Liquor Licensing [2010] VCAT 110 

The Friendly Backpacker Pty Ltd v Melbourne CC [2008] VCAT 669

​Roads and Rail

Casey C102 (PSA) [2009] PPV 62

Vic Roads v Nillumbik SC & Ors [2002] VCAT 1003

Bevacqua v Casey CC [2001] VCAT 2264



Supreme Court Property Law Users Group

Supreme Court Victorian Compensation and Planning Users' Group

Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association