EQC Declaratory Judgment
Between 28 and 31 October 2014 a full Court of the High Court (Heath, Kos & Gilbert JJ) in Christchurch heard an application by EQC for various declarations primarily about whether the increased flooding vulnerability of properties, as caused by the earthquake(s), is land damage under s19 of the Earthquake Commission Act 1993.
EQC also sought the High Court approval of an EQC policy to place thresholds for land movement (100mm in single quake or 200mm total) before it was compensable damage and to compensate for land damage by paying the difference in value of the property, rather than the cost to repair/reinstate the land.
During the hearing the Insurance Council added declarations about Increased Liquefaction Vulnerability and EQC added a declaration by which it asked the Court to state that the only method of challenging EQC was by judicial review.
EQC by its chosen process sought to affect the rights of thousands of homeowners. It chose to name as a defendant only the Insurance Council. Subsequently the Christchurch City Council and Southern Response Earthquake Services Ltd were added as defendants. Duncan Webb and Grant Shand were later granted permission to make submissions acting for interveners.
Hopefully the Court delivers its decision before Christmas. EQC did not receive a favourable reception from the Court.