Melinda leads the legal challenges to the dangerous deep water drilling offshore Guyana. Below we have a number of litigation cases we have completed and currently processing.
Thomas & De Freitas v Attorney-General of Guyana
Melinda leads the legal team consisting of Ronald Burch-Smith, Richard Lord QC, and Joshua Jackson. This is the first climate change case in the region. The litigants are Dr Troy Thomas from the University of Guyana and Quadad de Freitas an indigenous Wapichan youth from the Rupununi region of Guyana. The case asks the court whether proposed oil production offshore Guyana is compatible with the right to a healthy environment as guaranteed by the Constitution of Guyana. The right to a healthy environment was introduced into the Constitution after Melinda lobbied the Constitution Reform Commission nearly 20 years ago.
Thomas v Environmental Protection Agency
Melinda filed this case in 2020 with Seenath Jairam SC. Pratesh Satram and Ron Motilall provided procedural and logistical support. This case cut the environmental permits for Esso Exploration and Production Guyana ltd (ExxonMobil’s subsidiary) down from more than 23 years to 5 years. The permit for Liza Phase 1 will now expire in June 2022 instead of June 2040.
Gaskin v Minister of Natural Resources et al
Melinda filed this case in February 2018 with Seenath Jairam SC. On 12th February 2020, a year after all submissions were completed, the Chief Justice ruled against Mr Gaskin. The appeal was filed on 14th February 2020. The Court of Appeal has not yet set a date for the appeal.