Relief as court order limits MORA’s costs

By Francesca Ryan

The Mooreland and Owenvarragh Residents’ Association (MORA) has welcomed the granting of a court order that has removed the threat of crippling legal bills from over their head.

A Protective Cost Order was granted by Judge Seamus Treacy in the High Court on Tuesday, which means that MORA can proceed with its judicial review of the Casement Park redevelopment plan without fear of being handed a ruinous bill for costs this autumn should the case go against them.

The judicial review, scheduled for September, is the latest step in the campaign led by MORA to stop plans for the 38,000-seater stadium. The legal action was brought by residents amid concerns about the scale of the stadium and the impact on traffic in a residential neighbourhood, among other worries.
Welcoming the news, Vice-Chair of MORA, Dominic McSherry, explained the significance to the Andersonstown News.

“This places a £10,000 threshold on any financial liability for the other side’s costs that would fall on the committee of MORA should we fail in our attempt to have the DoE’s planning decision overturned,” he said.
“Furthermore, the judge agreed a threshold of £36,000 that would be payable to MORA by the DoE, should we succeed, to cover our costs.

“As we are acting as a group, and not an individual, we are unable to access Legal Aid. So this was an extremely important and welcome decision, as without this protection MORA would simply not have been financially able to pursue the judicial review, due to the potentially very high costs that would be incurred if we were to lose the case, particularly as there are now legal teams from both the DoE and the GAA contesting the application.

“Raising the funds necessary to pay our own legal team continues to be challenging, as might be expected in the current financial situation, so having this protection on the costs of the other side is a major relief for the committee.

“We can now focus purely on raising the additional money for our own legal costs, and we are very confident that, on the basis of the incredible generosity we have witnessed from the local community to date, we will raise all that we need to fight the case in the High Court in September, and hopefully get an outcome that will meet the needs of everyone in our community.”

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