Metropolitan Fire Brigade v City of Yarra (2011-2017)

Landmark environmental case concerning claims for clean up costs concerning remediation of toxic waste abandoned on former industrial land. Lead counsel for plaintiff MFB at trial, on appeal and in the High Court.

The MFB occupied polluted land and was required to clean up toxic waste abandoned on site decades before by the Richmond City Council, later the City of Yarra, a prior occupier of the land. The MFB was successful in obtaining orders requiring the City of Yarra to pay the costs of the clean up with a trial on the quantum of damages to follow.

The judgment at first instance was upheld on appeal and special leave to the High Court has been refused. The quantum trial is progressing. 

The case follows on the decision of Spotless, and considers the provisions of the Environment Protection Act concerning the abandonment of pollution. 

The appeal considered for the first time a number of key provisions of the Environment Protection Act concerning recovery of compensation from a polluter. The case also considered the effect of the amalgamation of municipal councils on liability of the new entity. 

See judgment on appeal and case notes