- An Application to the Supreme Court of the Bahamas (“Court”) for leave to apply for a Judicial Review, brought against the Government of The Bahamas in respect of the issue to BPC (in February 2020) of an Environmental Authorisation for drilling of the Perseverance #1 well, was refused ‘on the papers’ by the Court on 24 December 2020
- Accordingly, a request for a stay order (halt) to BPC’s drilling activities was refused at that hearing
- The Applicants have made a renewed application for Judicial Review in respect of the Environmental Authorisation and, on Saturday, 26 December 2020, the Court advised that there would be an oral hearing of the renewed application on Tuesday, 29 December 2020
- Additional matters that were not addressed at the 24 December 2020 hearing will also be heard on Tuesday, 29 December 2020
As indicated in BPC’s announcement of Thursday, 24 December 2020, on that day, at a hearing of the Court, the Honourable Justice Petra Hanna-Weekes, following her consideration of the relevant documents, refused the Applicants leave to apply for judicial review of the decision by the Government of The Bahamas in February 2020 to grant BPC Environmental Authorisation to proceed with the drilling of Perseverance #1. The application had been brought by certain environmental groups.
This ruling was made ‘on the papers’ – that is, solely on the basis of written materials provided by parties to the Court, without any parties making oral submissions.
Following that ruling, the Court also refused the Applicants’ request for a stay order (halt) to BPC’s drilling activities.
The question of whether BPC’s request to be added as an interested party to the proceedings was adjourned, as was the Applicant’s application for judicial review of more recent decisions by the Government of The Bahamas.
The lawyer acting for the environmental groups indicated that they would renew their application for leave following the refusal.
In response, and as advised in BPC’s announcement of 24 December 2020, the Honourable Justice Petra Hanna-Weekes indicated that written reasons for her ruling would be provided on or around 29 December 2020, and that there would be a further hearing on that date, but that the precise nature of that further hearing would be notified to the parties and BPC on Saturday, 26 December 2020.
Consequent to this, on 26 December 2020 the Honourable Justice Petra Hanna-Weekes advised the parties and BPC that a session of the Court will be convened on Tuesday, 29 December 2020, to hear oral arguments from the parties, limited strictly to those matters already set out in papers previously submitted to Court. BPC’s application to be added as party will be addressed at a further court hearing on 6 January 2021.
As advised, the ruling of the Court on 24 December 2020 means that drilling of the Perseverance #1 well in The Bahamas, currently underway since 20 December 2020, has continued.
BPC will provide a further update following the Court hearing on 29 December 2020.