A one time partner of mine , a Q.C. , once told me “There is lots of law but very little justice” a truism that has once more come to the for in the case of the five rural Ontario home owners in their fight against the imposition of a wind turbine farm close to their property.
I wrote about these unfortunate people in my post ‘Nimbies’ about the rush to Green Energy regardless of the cost. I now read in the Huffington Post that having lost in the lower court, the appellant have been stuck with legal bills of nearly half a million dollars. (They plan to appeal to a higher court). As one defense counsel said a “Loose you home to save your home situation”, if there ever was one. Or, as another legal beagle said “By simply exercising their right to access the courts, the appellants now find the disheartening prospect of financial ruin”
There is of course a point being made here. The Wind Farms, the current darlings of the environmental movement, are saying ‘mess with us at your peril’ so to discourage others who might dare to oppose having a giant wind turbine plunked in their back yard.
Regardless of the efficacy of this particular situation, (a judge will make the decision on the award of costs) the legal process is now far beyond the reach of the average citizen, both as to understanding and affordability.
The laws of the land are written by lawyers for lawyers and not for the people. (the law is an ass) Such is the state of law and government that most administrative details are carried out by tribunals who regulate as they see fit. This is a great shame and a blight upon both democracy and the law.
One of the great founding principles of British Common Law is Mandamus the purpose of which is to remedy defects in justice. It is my contention that defects in justice frequently occur when a tribunal, such as those that rule on most environmental concerns, become so arbitrary as to ignore or even make new law; all in the name of the common good. Rule by rote in another way of saying the same thing.
I have been informed by learned counsel that Mandamus is not a good fit for Tribunal Decisions. ‘A mandamus is normally issued when an officer of an authority by compulsion of statute is required to perform a duty, and duty despite demand in writing, has not been performed’ The key word here is statute.
Lazy politicians give immense power to tribunals as a way of avoiding responsibility for their actions. This argument is frequently countered by the excuse that the political class does not have the time to acquire the knowledge to make intelligent decisions. Used to be this is what committees of legislators were required to do. Not so any more apparently.
It is always tempting to accept rule by rote when decisions go in favor of ones’ beliefs. It is quite another matter when they do not. The wind turbines in Ontario being a case in point. Those in favor of wind energy, might consider the appeal of the appellants to be a costly nuisance, but to those whose ox is being gored (the owners of the homes in question) it is entirely a different matter.
Seems to me, rote, in this case ,misses an accepted principle where facilities used by utilities impinge upon the rights of home owners. In these cases it is normal for the utility to provide the owner with an option to sell at fair market value as determined by an independent third-party.
Apparently in this case the rampage of clean energy advocates, trumps common sense. Too bad.