Data source
Date of text
30 Jan 2013
Seat of court
Port Moresby
Original language


Type of text
National - higher court
Reference number
[2013] PGNC 14
Court name
National Court of Justice
Cannings J.

The plaintiff Gramgari is a customary landowner in the Lower Ramu area. He has brought an action against PNG Tropical Wood Products for “unlawful harvesting of timber and environmental damage on his clan's land.” The case considered whether the defendant was liable.

In reaching its decision, the Court considered s 7(1) of the Environment Act 2000:

A person shall not carry out an activity that causes or is likely to cause an environmental harm unless the person takes all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent or minimise the environmental harm.

The Court, citing s 7(3), held that a “plaintiff cannot obtain a civil remedy by just arguing or even proving a breach of the general environmental duty.” Despite this, the plaintiff was successful in recovering damages under the tort of trespass.


(Contribution:  Case provided by Charley Xu from the Queensland University of Technology)