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Court orders Gov't to pay half of legal costs in Goat Islands case

Published:Friday | October 24, 2014 | 1:36 PM
A fishing boat approaches the Goat Islands on August 22, 2013 - File

Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The Judicial Review Court has ordered the Government to pay half of the legal costs incurred by the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), following the filing of an application against the Portia Simpson Miller-Administration on the proposed Goat Islands project.

The application was filed against the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General.

Yesterday, the Government conceded that the wrong minister signed a Certificate of Exemption barring the release of information on the proposed project to the environment lobby group.

This morning, Justice Sharon George said the defendants acted reasonably.

The judge also pointed out that the defendants did not oppose JET’s application to seek a judicial review.

The judge, however, noted that when JET applied for a judicial review and when it filed its claim form, it did not include the allegation that the wrong minister had sign off on the Certificate of Exemption.

She said a lot of time could have been saved if it had done so.

It was on that basis that the judge said she would only grant JET half and not the full amount of its legal costs.

JET is now expected to submit its legal bill to the government.

If the government disagrees with the amount being sought by JET then the matter will go to the courts for an assessment.

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