Appeal on thin ice: Hammond

PERTH lawyer John Hammond says the WA government has virtually no chance of winning its Roe 8 appeal.

Premier Colin Barnett has decided, after receiving advice from the state solicitor, to fight the Supreme Court’s ruling that environmental approval for the project was invalid. He says it’s necessary to provide clarity for approvals processes.

Chief Justice Wayne Martin last month ruled the Environmental Protection Authority had failed to follow its own policies when approving the controversial highway extension through Beeliar wetlands.

The appellate court will likely consist of three Supreme Court justices (not Justice Martin) and success will require a majority decision.

Mr Hammond says the vast majority of such appeals fail, and “the fact that the decision was made by the chief justice, who is well respected and somewhat of an expert in administrative law, means that the ruling has a lot of gravitas”.

Legal sources told the Herald the appeal process would cost at least $50,000 and take 10 to 12 months.

Last year Save Beeliar Wetlands raised $50,000 via crowdfunding to launch the judicial review that doomed the EPA’s approval.

Several solicitors and lawyers worked pro bono: SBW convenor Kate Kelly isn’t sure if the same lawyers are willing to go through it again, but she says the group has the funds and stamina for another prolonged legal stoush: “We are not going to give up and will fight the Roe 8 highway extension all the way to the High Court.”


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