The review failed because the Judge believed that the grounds for asking for another judicial review were not necessary. The Judge handed down a judgment where he dismissed the application.
Firstly, the Judge established that the review was done according to the technical memorandum. The memorandum does present for the need to avoid impacts, minimize impacts and then arrange for compensation accordingly. The Judge held that the complaint was unfounded because nowhere in the technical memorandum, it was stated that it was necessary for all the three phases, 1) avoidance, 2) minimizing and 3) compensation to be provided during the construction phase. As the complaints claimed, it was not considered necessary to provide off site ecological mitigation when on-site ecological mitigation itself was not fully exhausted. Similarly for Mr. Ho’s claim that cumulative ecological assessment has not been considered, the Judge states that there was evidence which shows that a the study brief has made direct references to the projects that were claimed by Mr Ho. Cumulative impact assessments could be observed in some paragraphs of the report.
In addition to dismissing the case, the Judge furthermore stated that the court had been presented with a tedious form with many unnecessary and irrelevant details. All forms of legal and factual statements had been added and it really was not necessary to attempt to connect them with context. There are facts, quotes and more observed here, along with some citations from authorities as well. Many of the matters were quite irrelevant.
Do you agree with the judge’s decision? Give reasons for your answer.
I agree with the Judge’s decision. It is indeed based on a very thorough understanding of the complaint made. For instance, in the first set of grounds, the complaint repeatedly claimed that the brief was not made according to the technical memorandum. It was established that it had followed the said memorandum and that even in the technical specifications, and some aspects of inspection need not be mentioned completely during construction. A separate assessment could be carried out before beginning operations.
While I agree with the Judge’s decision, the way the Judge states that moderate high impact would anyways be present because of construction and operation and this could potentially result in a permanent habitat loss does show the seriousness of the case. It furthermore shows that even if the allegations made by the duo were unfounded, their concerns were appropriate given environment protection issues. A full stakeholder assessment could have been helpful in this situation.