Court Awards BEST $70,000 In Legal Costs

September 23, 2014

Following legal action by the Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce [BEST] against the Government in reference to the Tucker’s Point development, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Ministry of Home Affairs must pay BEST $70,000 in legal costs.

Chief Justice Ian Kawaley’s ruling said, “Erring very generously in favour of the Minister in this estimation process, I summarily assess the Plaintiffs costs of its successful appeal at $70,000, and order that this sum should be paid on or before September 30, 2014.”

In response, Mr. Hayward said, “BEST is pleased that we have so far been protected from bearing the costs of a legal action that is clearly in the public interest.

“The Court’s decision on costs is of significant import to organizations like BEST that are motivated by public interest principles. It sets a precedent for other public interest NGO’s [non-profits] to avail themselves of the justice available through the courts. Of course there are safeguards that weed out frivolous appeals to the Court.

“The decision handed down also helps clear up what must take place at the next stage,” added Mr. Hayward.

Screenshot from the Court’s ruling:

Fullscreen capture 9232014 12607 PM

Mr. Hayward added, “A significant aspect of the Minister’s earlier decision rejecting BEST’s appeal was the stance taken by the Minister, the DAB and the DOP that an EIA could not be done because the SDO prohibited it.

“That stance was set straight [see para 8 of the Ruling on Costs]. There is no dictat that prevents an EIA. Rather, as the Chief justice wrote in his decision [para 7 of the Ruling on Costs], “In respect of major projects likely to have a significant environmental impact, this assessment technique should be deployed as a general rule”.

“One unintended consequence in this case is that, in quashing the Minister’s 12th of March decision and ordering the Minister to re-hear our appeal, the PCO that shielded BEST from costs, enabling us to take the case to the Supreme Court, does not apply to the Court-ordered re-hearing.

“The Minister is being represented by a prominent legal firm, BEST would surely face a David and Goliath situation if we went into the re-hearing without legal representation. The downside is that at the hearing, BEST would no longer be protected against costs, one possible result of which is that our public interest case could be under-represented and disadvantaged.”

The full Court ruling on costs is below [PDF here]

Read More About

Category: All, Environment, News, Politics

Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. swing voter says:

    Another successful law suit…. the previous administration has, at least been consistent when it comes to legal actions 0 for 5 I do believe?

  2. hmmm says:

    Wow, thanks PLP. That money went to lawyers. What are the PLP mainly made up of? 1 + 1 don’t equal 2, but it makes you think now doesn’t it.

  3. Need Peace says: