Stop the Stadium may seek judicial review

Stop the Stadium has sought legal advice on the possibility of a judicial review of the Otago Regional Council's decision to help fund the stadium.

President Bev Butler confirmed yesterday to the Otago Daily Times the organisation had instructed specialist public law firm Chen Palmer to look into "whether the Otago Regional Council are acting legally".

Stop the Stadium has in the past accused the ORC of straying from core business, and ignoring ratepayers' wishes on the issue.

Ms Butler has also complained councillors did not read peer review documents about the stadium before deciding last year to commit funding to the project, an issue she took to the Ombudsman.

A judicial review would obviate the need for, and expense of, expert witnesses, as would be necessary in a drawn out Environment Court appeal, she said.

Stop the Stadium had planned an appeal, but withdrew because of the cost.

Under a review, a High Court judge can consider a decision of a local authority to determine whether proper procedure was followed in a fair and reasonable way.

Generally, it would only require lawyers for the applicant and the organisation that is the subject of the review, and does not require witnesses to be called.

Costs in such a case would be court fees and the cost of legal advice, but still a considerable amount of money.

Ms Butler said the review was "quite independent" of the appeal process.

Her organisation had not heard back from Chen Palmer, and would not be making a decision on whether to proceed until it had.

But she was expecting a response "reasonably soon".


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