Country
Fiji
Sources
InforMEA
Tagging
Specific Performance, Contract, Remedies, Damages, Land Use, Constitutional, Evidence
Abstract

The case concerned a hydropower project commissioned by the Fiji Electricity Authority. The Monasavu folk previously occupied the land, which was purchased in 1978 to construct the power plant. The water catchment area was not acquired, and it could, according to the Fiji Electricity Authority still be used for traditional purposes. Use was later restricted by other agencies. This led to conflicts between the people and the state and the police and the military were involved. There was also a compensation claim. While compensation was later rewarded, some of the people did not agree that it was enough compensation.

It was recognised that the hydropower plant was necessary for the sustainable development of Fiji, as an environmentally sound energy production. Therefore measures were taken to ensure the continuation of the production. A meeting was held to some to an agreement and a joint statement of understanding was concluded. The Fiji Electricity Authority however, changed its mind about some provisions and further proceedings were commenced.

The Court had two questions to consider. First, whether an agreement was met to settle the grievances and second, whether the defendants, the Fiji Electricity Authority, had the requisite authority to compromise the claims.

Finally, the Court concluded that the Joint statement of understanding was a valid contract entered into in good faith. Both parties should therefore be bound to it. The power plant was then continued to be run and specific performance was the remedy. The plaintiffs were awarded damages for the delay in implementation of the agreement.