Rena Oil Spill Legal Fight

Two legal firms are preparing a class action lawsuit that is expected to be the country’s biggest environmental claim. North South Environmental Law in Auckland, assisted by Holland Beckett Lawyers (HOBEC) in Tauranga, has identified 150 claimants affected by the Rena grounding – and expects to add more in coming weeks. The claimants, all business owners, will become part of a joint lawsuit to bring proceedings against Greece-based Rena owner Daina Shipping Co.

Individual claims from Bay businesses currently range between $20,000 and $250,000. The class action is understood to be the biggest negligence-based environmental claim in New Zealand, only outdone in size by class actions against finance and investment companies. Robert Makgill, an expert in law of the sea and co-director of North South Environmental Law, was approached by a number of Bay of Plenty businesses after Rena hit Astrolabe Reef on October 5, 2011. Mr. Makgill is also preparing two separate claims against Daina Shipping Co for two iwi, one of which is Ngati Awa, the recognised statutory iwi for Motiti Island.

The class action had so far resulted in 150 businesses being assessed and many others were waiting to see whether they had a claim or not. Legal costs to businesses were still being worked through, but Mr Makgill said there was a view to keeping costs at zero or minimal.

For more information please click HERE.

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