Two decress, delivered earlier this month, from the First Hall of the Civil Court have been delivered in favour of MEPA against land-owners who separately presented a prohibitory injunction to stop the Authority from taking direct action against illegalities on their respective sites.
These two decisions handed down by Hon. Justice Mark Chetcuti follow on from a landmark decision taken earlier this year by the Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri. In its reply to the presented injunction by the contraveners in Court, the Authority cited a section of the Environment and Planning Act which states that no precautionary act may be issued by any court against the Authority restraining it from the exercise of any of the powers conferred upon it by the law during a direct action procedure. The Court took in consideration this article and gave considerable weight to it by focusing its decision on this merit. All three decisions ruled that contravenors of any illegal development do not have a right to present to the courts a prohibitory injunction against MEPA, in cases were the Authority is carrying out direct actions according to the provisions of the law. This ruling applies both in cases were the contravenors would have exhausted all the provisions given by law and even in cases were the person chooses not to.
The Authority positively welcomes these decisions as they lessen the obstacles for the enforcement directorate within MEPA to continue to effectively and decisively carry out direct action operations against land owners that ignore the environment and planning regulations.
Dr. Robert Abela appeared on behalf of MEPA in both cases.