Case details

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (Appellant) v Environmental Management Authority and others (Respondents) (Trinidad and Tobago)

Case ID: JCPC 2018/0055

Jurisdiction: The Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Case summary

  1. Whether there was undue delay in filing the application for leave;
  2. If so, should time be extended to enable a consideration of the application for leave;
  3. Whether there is an arguable ground for judicial review with a realistic prospect of success to justify the granting of leave;
  4. Whether the application to amend the application for permission to apply for judicial review should have been allowed.

The appellant is a non-profit organisation which focuses on protecting the environment. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago planned to extend a major highway through undeveloped areas of the country. The respondent is the body entrusted by Parliament under the Environmental Management Act to protect the environment and balance competing development and other interests. No construction work could begin without a Certificate of Environmental Clearance ("CEC"). After following the statutory process, a CEC was issued in June 2017. In September 2017, the appellant applied for leave for judicial review to challenge the grant of the CEC. In February 2018, the trial judge dismissed the application for leave, on the basis of:

  1. undue delay in making the application and
  2. the lack of merits of the application for judicial review. The Court of Appeal upheld the decision to dismiss the application for judicial review on the grounds of delay. Although the Court of Appeal held that certain grounds of appeal were arguable on the merits with realistic prospect of success, this did not outweigh the undue delay.



Fisherman and Friends of the Sea

  1. Environmental Management Authority
  2. Ministry of Works and Transport



Lord Reed, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lady Black, Lord Lloyd-Jones

Hearing start date

30 Jul 2018

Hearing finish date

30 Jul 2018

Watch hearing
30 Jul 2018 Morning session Afternoon session