On 1 September 2023, the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal upheld the National Conservation Council’s claim for judicial review of a decision of the Central Planning Authority to grant planning permission for a cabana on Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman.
The case raised fundamental questions about the respective statutory functions of the conservation and planning authorities under the National Conservation Act. Giving the lead judgment, Sir Alan Moses held that all public bodies were prohibited from taking action that might harm an environmentally protected area without the approval of the Conservation Council, and that the Planning Authority had erred in arrogating to itself the function of deciding whether harm to the Seven Mile Beach protected area could be satisfactorily mitigated through conditions.
The Premier of the Cayman Islands, Wayne Panton, quoted in the Cayman Compass, said that the ruling was a “victory for the people”.
Chris Buttler KC acted for the National Conservation Council in the Grand Court and the Court of Appeal, instructed by Kate McClymont, Nelsons.