Liquidator’s right to disclaim contaminated land – important decision pending

Murrays Legal has reported for some time on the progress of an important issue of legal conflict before the Supreme Court of Canada between a liquidator’s right to disclaim contaminated land and an environmental regulator’s claim to recoup remediation costs from the insolvent company’s assets.

The Supreme Court has announced that judgment is to be given in Orphan Wells Association v Grant Thornton at 1.45am 1 February 2019 Sydney time [9.45am Ottawa time, 31 January].

The decision has been reserved for some time, the hearing concluding in February 2018.

Comparable issues here

As we have reported – see Environmental law and insolvency – Senate inquiry moves into 2019 and several earlier articles – this parallels a decision on a similar conflict given by the Australian High Court in Linc Energy.

There is also:

  • a Senate committee reporting next month on an inquiry into the costs of remediation of contaminated land following mining company collapses;
  • Queensland’s new Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Act 2018;
  • WA’s concerns about the right of disclaimer, referred to COAG, arising from the liquidation of Kimberley Diamonds;
  • Scottish courts have recently dealt with the issue in Dawson International [2018] CSOH 52 and Doonin Plant [2018] CSOH 89; and
  • Professor Chris Symes (Uni of Adelaide) covered many issues in Environmental Protection Orders and Insolvency: is it onerous to disclaim, or to prioritise or to resolve the conflict of two public interests: 37(1) ARELJ.

More on Friday 1 February.




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