Bal accepts instructions in most areas of resource management, environmental, public works and local government law. He has a particular interest in water and water quality issues, water and nitrogen allocation, large-scale urban redevelopment, infrastructure and industrial projects, and noise issues.
He graduated from Otago University in 1998 with first class honours in both Law and Geography. Since then he has specialized in environmental, resource management, public works and local government law since 1998.
He started his career at Russell McVeagh in 1998, became a partner in 2005, and remained there until joining the independent bar in December 2016.
Regarded as a strategic and lateral thinker, Bal can provide advice from the outset of any particular project, through to any hearing processes and leading any subsequent litigation that might ensue. Bal is respected for his willingness to challenge assumptions, to provide timely, concise, and practical advice, and for his advocacy. Bal is available to peer review project strategy.
Since 2011 Bal has been a trustee of Elizabeth Knox Home & Hospital, a charitable trust established in 1908 which provides care and companionship for impoverished predominantly elderly residents of Auckland and currently provides more than 200 rooms. Bal regularly provides pro bono legal services in the environmental and resource management field. This has included assisting a number of community groups, a chapter of Scouts NZ, and the Northland Rescue Helicopter Trust.
Bal is a co-author of the Water chapter, and author of the Air chapter in New Zealand’s leading text Environmental and Resource Management Law, and contributes to the Resource Management Journal. He is a member of the Resource Management Law Association, chaired the Auckland Branch of the Association for a number of years and was subsequently a member of the National Committee of the Association.
Bal is recognized by a number of legal directories, including most recently being ranked as the Leading Junior Counsel in the 2021 edition of the Doyles Guide list of Environmental and Resource Management Barristers, and was selected by Best Lawyers as Lawyer of the Year for Natural Resources in Auckland in the 2022 edition of that guide.
Court decisions (2021)
POUTAMA KAITAIKI CHARITABLE TRUST v HERITAGE NEW ZEALAND POUHERE TAONGA  NZEnvC 165
FEDERATED FARMERS OF NEW ZEALAND INC v BAY OF PLENTY REGIONAL COUNCIL  NZEnvC 213
BROOKBY QUARRIES LTD v AUCKLAND COUNCIL  NZEnvC 120
WYUNA PRESERVE RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION INC v QUEENSTOWN LAKES DISTRICT COUNCIL  NZEnvC 103
Recent Projects – consented or in progress
- Class 1 Landfill – Wayby Valley, Auckland (Waste Management NZ Ltd)
- Quarries – Wellington, Auckland (Fulton Hogan Ltd)
- Groundwater take – Hawke’s Bay (Confidential)
- Apartment buildings, and hotel/retail developments – Auckland, Queenstown Lakes District (Various)
- Residential subdivisions – Northland, Auckland, Taupo, Dunedin (Various)
- Retirement villages – Auckland (Oceania Healthcare Ltd)
- Dairy manufacturing sites – Te Rapa, Edgecumbe, Hautapu, Te Awamutu (Fonterra Ltd)
- Reclamations – Coromandel (Confidential)
Plan Change/Plan Review processes
- Plan Changes – Auckland (Kainga Ora-Homes and Communities)
- Plan Reviews – Whangarei, Auckland, Tauranga, and New Plymouth (Kainga Ora-Homes and Communities), Northland (Golden Bay Cement), Bay of Plenty Region (Federated Farmers of New Zealand Inc), Manawatu-Wanganui Region (Federated Farmers of New Zealand Inc, DairyNZ and Fonterra), Waikato Region (Fonterra); Queenstown Lakes District (Wyuna Preserve Residents Association Inc); Southland (Fonterra and DairyNZ)
- Heritage listings – Auckland (Confidential)
- Archaeological authorities – Taranaki (First Gas Ltd)
- Heritage redevelopments – Auckland (Confidential)
Water Conservation Orders
- Te Waikoropupū Springs – Tasman (Various)
- Rakaia River – Canterbury (Trustpower Ltd)
- Havelock North Drinking Water Stage 2 (Hawke’s Bay Regional Council)
Public Works Act
- Access orders – Taranaki (Vector Gas Ltd)
- Opposing land acquisition – Auckland (Confidential)