March 29, 2023
For five days beginning on 27 February, members Jenny Cooper KC and Jack Hodder KC appeared before the Court of Appeal in a landmark proceeding on the interpretation of the Marine and Coastal Area Act 2011.
The proceeding — Re Edwards — arises from overlapping claims to title and protected customary rights in the common marine and coastal area off the coast of Bay of Plenty, including White Island/Whakaari.
The proceedings raise important issues about the interpretation of the Act, particularly the provisions that describe what applicants must prove in order to establish they have customary marine title or a protected customary right in the common marine and coastal area.
Jenny Cooper KC appeared on behalf of the Te Upokorehe Treaty Claims Trust with Bryce Lyall and Hannah Swedlund. The Trust largely supported the High Court’s interpretation of the Act but cross-appealed against specific aspects of the Court’s decision.
Jack Hodder KC appeared for the Landowners Coalition Incorporated, along with junior Bridget McLay. The Landowners contended the High Court’s interpretation and application of the relevant provisions of the Act departed from the language of the legislation.
More than ten parties participated in the appeal and were represented by counsel at the hearing, including the Attorney-General. The Court of Appeal reserved its judgment.