From the NSW Environmental Defender’s Office - a case of poetic justice as the the WAMC is left holding the legal bill:
With assistance from the EDO , the Snowy River Alliance (SRA) recently challenged the validity of the Snowy Hydro water access licence in the Supreme Court. The challenge was unsuccessful. The general rule is that the unsuccessful party must pay the successful party's legal costs. However, the Court can make an exception in public interest litigation so that persons seeking to represent the public interest are not deterred by the prospect of paying the other party's costs. But this exception only applies when the litigation is genuine public interest litigation, and where there is ‘something more' that justifies a departure from the general rule. In this case, Justice Hislop held that the proceedings could be characterised as public interest litigation because there is a wide public interest in the protection of the Snowy River , and because the plaintiffs were not pursuing any personal gains. There was also ‘something more' in these proceedings because they dealt with issues that were novel and important. Therefore, the Court ordered that the SRA did not need to bear the defendant's costs.
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Judgment[PDF 3.08 MB]