GENET archive


9-Misc: New Zealand court rules in mums' favour

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                                  PART I
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TITLE:  Judge Rules in Mums' Favour
SOURCE: MadGE, New Zealand, Press Releases
DATE:   Apr 16, 2003

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Judge Rules in Mums' Favour

AgResearch's attempt to scare off NZ Mothers' (MAdGE) by demanding they pay 
$30,000 for security for costs before they have their case heard in the High 
Court failed miserably today.

Justice Ellen France said no security for costs was required and declined their 
application in her 17 page judgement; in which she noted that MAdGEs' case has 

Spokesperson for Madge Kate Woodd said "The New Zealand High Court has 
recognised that Madge is an organisation with credibility and its concerns on 
behalf of New Zealanders's must be taken seriously. We are delighted with the 
decision and we are looking forward to our case being determined by the Court in 

AgResearch lawyers had tried to argue that there was a "perceptible lack of 
merit" in Madge's case, and that individual members in the organisation should 
front up with the funds in their personal capacity to provide security if they 
wanted to go ahead with the case. Justice France rejected that argument and 
concluded that this is "certainly not a case which could be characterised as 
hopeless or some sort of "try on."

In a careful decision covering the merits of the case, the public interest, 
fairness and access to justice, she concluded that on balance this case raises 
"novel" issues. She considered the role of voluntary community organisations as 
"watchdogs" of public interest was an important issue and that the case has 
merit. She also held that the judicial review findings have a wider application 
in the sense of assisting both the Minister for the Environment and Erma as to 
the approach to be taken to other applications in future.

                                  PART II
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TITLE:  ERMA decision to be reviewed
SOURCE: Life Science Network, New Zealand
DATE:   Apr 16, 2003

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ERMA decision to be reviewed

The latest round in the battle between MaDGE (Mothers against GE), the Minister 
for the Environment, ERMA and AgResearch ended in the high court in Auckland 

Justice France declined an application from AgResearch that would have required 
MaDGE to give $30,000 security for costs if they lost the case they have taken 
for a review of ERMA's decision to allow AgResearch to conduct GE experiments 
with cows.

In delivering her ruling, Justice France said the questions in this case came 
down to a consideration of the nature of the litigation, its merits, the public 
interest in it and broader questions of fairness and access to justice.

Francis Wevers, Executive Director of the Life Sciences Network says it was a 
disappointing decision, with no apparent weight given to any of the factors 
Justice France referred to.

"It appears the merits of MaDGE's case have been given a very low threshold. 
It's particularly frustrating that the public process gone through in the ERMA 
hearing has been of such little consequence. We've already been through an ERMA 
hearing, why didn't MaDGE raise their issues then?"

"MaDGE can now put the Minister, ERMA and AgResearch to considerable expense 
revisiting a decision which was subject to a very thorough hearing by ERMA. They 
appear to be able to do that without having to bear any responsibility if their 
case is found to without merit," Mr Wevers says.