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Liberty given to local authority to bring further motion for attachment and committal specifying remedies and financial orders sought

By: James Cross BL

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High Court, in an application for attachment and committal by a local authority arising from the respondents' failure to comply with orders directing them to discontinuing using a site as a dump and to carry out remedial works, makes no orders in relation to the existing notice of motion and gives the local authority liberty to bring a further motion in accordance with the rules of the Superior Courts, identifying, if it wishes, the possible financial orders that could be made as an alternative to imprisonment; or, alternatively, seek such other orders by way of enforcement as are appropriate, on the grounds that the local authority, as the moving party, bears the obligation to identify the specific remedy sought and what kind of financial order might be appropriate to the court.

Application for attachment and committal - between 70,000 and 100,000 tonnes of waste were deposited in an illegal dump – county council - received a waste permit application from respondent – further information was not provided – application deemed incomplete and was returned – dumping continued on the lands – council served notice to stop the dumping – risk assessments – recommended removal of the waste material – proceedings issued seeking the respondents to discontinue the unauthorised holding, recovery and disposal of waste at the site – High Court made orders directing the respondents to discontinue using the site as a dump - carry out remediation – further order providing for substituted service of the original order and an extension of time for the works concerned to begin - scandalous and threatening letter written to the council – issued motion for attachment and committal -procedure for a contempt application - distinction between coercive and punitive orders - inquiry into whether or not the respondents are going to comply with the order - no particular necessity for a free-standing inquiry into whether a party intends to comply with an order – allege that impossible to comply with the order - end goal of the order is inappropriate and suggest that the court should revisit the substantive content of the order sought to be enforced - whether the court can or should separate a finding of contempt of court from the question of what consequential order is appropriate - correct process for a coercive order in respect of civil contempt - consideration may need to be given to a financial, rather than an imprisonment-based, solution to the problem - the primary obligation to identify the remedy is on the council as moving party to put forward specifically to the court what kind of financial order might be appropriate – council allowed to restructure the motion - enforcement stage is not a mechanism to revisit the question of whether the original order - no order on the existing notice of motion - liberty to the council to bring a further motion - declaration that the respondents are in contempt of court - specific order for attachment and committal under O. 44 rr. 1 or 2, - council can particularise (if it wishes) the possible financial orders that could be made as an alternative to imprisonment or alternatively seek such other orders by way of enforcement as are appropriate - if the council wants the court to quantify the costs of the investigation –

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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