Data source
Date of text
04 May 2011
Seat of court
Original language


Type of text
National - higher court
Reference number
[2011] PGNC 194
Court name
National Court of Papua New Guinea
compensation, customary law, indigenous peoples, liability, standing to sue, water pollution, water quality

In an action for damages for pollution caused to the creek by the operations of the defendants the Court held: that the Plaintiff failed to satisfy the requirements of suing in a representative capacity and as the alleged pollution is continuously occurring, continuing claim is therefore not time barred under Section 16 of the Fraud and Limitations Act.
The said creek allegedly polluted is located in the land owned by the defendant. This land is a registered State lease identified as Portion 1668, Fourmil Megigi, Talasea, West New Britain. Upon registration the defendant has acquired an indefeasible title to the property. The creek Nalu Putu is now owned by the defendants. The defendants have now acquired exclusive rights and possession of the creek to the exclusion of everyone including the plaintiff.
The plaintiff has lost all rights to use the creek for washing, fishing, drinking and other uses including the right to use creek for customary performance of magical rituals. These rights which were once vested in the plaintiff are now converted into a right to receive compensation, compensation either in monetary terms or compensation in kind. The claim for damages arising from the alleged pollution to the creek is hereby dismissed with costs to the defendants.