Monday, 14 July 2014

Metgasco Limited putting words in the Supreme Court's mouth in July 2014

Snapshot from The Northern Star 12July 2014

Coal seam/tight gas exploration and mining company Metgasco Limited states that the court made it clear the documents "should be produced by late August".

Actually, the court decision in Metgasco v Minister for Resources & Energy [2104] was that Metgasco's Notice to Produce dated 12 June 2014 be set aside without tying any future production of documents to a specific time period and, I suspect it would be rather surprised to find ít has allegedly tied the Minister into an August timetable instead of a possible "later appropriate time".

Specifically, the court stated: at 1There is some force in the Plaintiff's submission that the first decision of the delegate remains a relevant one, and that the documents associated with that decision will be relevant to the issues to be determined. However, it is necessary to await the Defendant's response and evidence on which the Defendant relies before the Defendant should be required to produce documents not relied upon by the Defendant in defence of the Summons; at 20 I do not consider that what is sought in the Notice to Produce complies with what may be sought under rule 21.10. That conclusion is reinforced by the prematurity of the Notice to Admit when the only document before the Court referred to in that rule is the Summons. Only two documents are referred to in the Summons, and one of those is the letter containing the decision of 14 May 2014; and at 27 In the light of my determination that the Notice to Produce is premature I consider that it would still be open to stand over the Notice to Produce and the Defendant' Motion to set it aside until such time as the amended pleadings are finalised and the evidence is complete. However, that is unlikely to be finalised in a way that would enable me to continue to hear the Notice of Motion on a part-heard basis. Further, the filing of amended pleadings and the serving of the evidence on both sides may well change the basis upon which documents need to be, or are, sought by the Notice to Produce. The better course, it seems to me, is to set aside the Notice to Produce but without precluding the Plaintiff from serving a further Notice to Produce if so advised at a later appropriate time.

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