This case was heard in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador (Court of Appeal).
Mr. Cabana initiated legal proceedings on the grounds that the development of the Lower Churchill River hydroelectric project was unlawful, as the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador had failed to hold a public referendum before approving the project, and had also put the financial wellbeing of the public at risk, and in doing both had violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Mr. Cabana filed an application for injunctive relief in which he also requested public interest standing. The Court determined that the matter of Mr. Cabana’s public interest standing should be settled before the merits of Mr. Cabana’s Statement of Claim and application for injunctive relief were considered.
After considering the nature of Mr. Cabana’s claims alongside the relevant law and legal principles, the Court held that Mr. Cabana should not be granted public interest standing. Given that Mr. Cabana’s Statement of Claim and application for injunctive relief both depended on his ability to secure public interest standing, the Court then dismissed the application for injunctive relief and the Statement of Claim. In doing so, it put an end to Mr. Cabana’s attempts to bring the matter to trial.
When Mr. Cabana appealed to the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal, the Court held that the lower court had not erred in concluding that Mr. Cabana should not be granted public interest standing. The Court also held, however, that the lower court should not have imposed costs on Mr. Cabana, as cost awards are discretionary in public interest litigation. The Court held that although Mr. Cabana had not succeeded in being granted public interest standing, he had nonetheless brought a public interest issue before the courts. The Court therefore reversed the lower court’s order as to costs.
To read related decisions, go to:
Cabana v. Newfoundland and Labrador, 2013 CanLII 10499 (NL SCTD)
Cabana v. Newfoundland and Labrador, 2014 NLCA 1 (CanLII)
Cabana v. Newfoundland and Labrador, 2014 NLCA 34 (CanLII)
Cabana v. Newfoundland and Labrador et al., 2016 NLCA 75 (CanLII)
Cabana v. Newfoundland and Labrador, 2013 CanLII 45930 (NL SCTD)
Cabana v. Newfoundland and Labrador, 2015 CanLII 73452 (NL SCTD)