David Billington


Qualifications: LLB, GDLP, B Comp Sci

Memberships: SA Bar Association, Native Title News, Editorial Panel

David is the go-to junior counsel in South Australia in respect of two practice areas: environment and planning matters; and native title. (But that’s not to say David doesn’t enjoy briefs in other areas too!)

Recent cases of note include:

  • the Palmer Wind Farm planning appeal (McLachlan v Mid Murray Council [2018] SAERDC 15) and subsequent Supreme Court McGregor v Tilt Renewables Australia Pty Ltd [2019] SASCFC 142. David appeared for the wind developer Tilt Renewables Australia Pty Ltd;
  • the NuSkope (now part of Superloop) fixed WiFi tower planning appeal (Allesandrini v City of Campbelltown [2018] SAERDC 4) and subsequent Supreme Court appeal (judgment reserved). David appeared for the telecommunications provider;
  • the ‘On The Run’ Kensington Road Supreme Court appeal: Shahin Enterprises Pty Ltd v Development Assessment Commission [2019] SASCFC 44. David appeared for the local council and an adjoining landowner (the Defence Housing Authority);
  • the Lake Torrens overlapping native title claims: Lake Torrens Overlap Proceedings (No 2) [2015] FCA 1195; and (No 3) [2016] FCA 899, in which David appeared for the Adnyamathanha People. David then appeared as sole counsel in the appeal to the Full Court: Starkey v South Australia [2018] FCAFC 36. David appeared, led by Bret Walker SC, for the Adnyamathanha People in the High Court special leave application: Paige v South Australia [2018] HCATrans 216; and
  • appearing for Boney and others in the Gomeroi People s 66B application: Gomeroi People v New South Wales [2017] FCA 1464, and [2018] FCA 71, and the subsequent appeals therefrom: [2018] FCA 1066, [2018] FCA 1241, and [2018] FCAFC 218

In addition to the two practice areas mentioned earlier, David’s primary practice also includes construction, building and development law, including prosecuting and defending regulatory prosecutions, conducting merits appeals and judicial review matters, and enforcing judgments including by contempt proceedings. David also has a strong practice in international extradition.

David also has significant experience with local government matters (including rating, governance, liquor licensing, internal reviews, land acquisition, roads and local services, Freedom of Information, and Ombudsman and ICAC matters) and experience with intentional torts such as nuisance and trespass. David will happily accept briefs in all civil, administrative, governmental and summary criminal matters.

David joined the Independent Bar and Howard Zelling Chambers in 2015, having been admitted to practice since 2004. David’s pre-Bar practice was substantially that of a solicitor advocate, rising to the level of Partner at a well known Adelaide firm.

Areas of Practice - read more

Environment & Planning

  • Merit Appeals
  • Appellate (Environment & Planning)
  • Civil Enforcement
  • Compulsory Acquisition of Land & Compensation
  • Environmental & Planning Offences
  • Local Government

Public/Administrative Law

  • Challenging and Defending Government Decisions
  • Merits Review
  • Judicial Review
  • Local Government Decisions
  • Appellate (Public/Administrative)

Native Title

  • All Aspects including:
    • Trials and Contested Hearings
    • Section 66B Matters
    • Opinions on Consent Determinations and ILUAs.


  • Environmental & Planning Offences
  • Summary Offences
  • Regulatory Offences
  • Corporate Offences
  • International Extradition


  • Breach of Court Orders


  • Civil Appeals (including appeals from Summary Offences)
  • Minor Civil Reviews


  • Town Planning & Development
  • Building & Construction
  • Real Property

Consumer Protection

  • Australian Consumer Law
  • Misleading and Deceptive Conduct
  • Unconscionable Conduct

Common Law/Personal Injury

  • Appellate (Common Law/Personal Injury)
  • Intentional Torts
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