Cassowary Coast Regional Council

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*This statement was read out at today’s public Council meeting.

This statement is to address specific allegations of legal fees being spent by Council on recent legal action.  

Council has been asked how much is this costing?  Council is bound by legal privilege and cannot disclose the exact figure, but ratepayers will not pay for these legal costs, they will be covered by our insurers.

To date the legal fees incurred by Council in properly defending it and its employees are considerable.  To date, and confirming Council’s position, the Courts have made a significant number of costs orders in favour of Council and its employees, and Council is taking every step open to it to recover those costs.  

This is just on matters which have been heard - there remain outstanding matters and Council will in those matters continue to seek costs orders to vindicate its position.

Once a legal action is commenced against Council or a counterclaim is launched, Council has an obligation to defend itself and protect ratepayer’s money against this legal action.

It is a shame that through no fault of its own Council and its resources are tied up in legal action – however, ratepayers will not pay for these legal costs as Council's insurer has confirmed that it will.

Ratepayers will not pay for these legal costs. Council’s insurers will cover these legal costs. 
Much of this rumour has been spread on unreliable social media platforms with no accountability for journalistic ethics, nor are they a verified news source and nor is there transparency around who is administrating the social media sites. This has then been re-reported as fact in newspapers and at public rallies.   

Council’s insurer has stated that they have a small handful of vexatious cases such as these being carried out against other local governments. Council’s insurer takes these cases very seriously and has reiterated to Council that it will cover Council’s expenses and pursue these matters through to the end - to protect Council.

To protect ratepayers and Council it is the right thing to do, to see those matters through to their conclusion, as quickly and cost effectively as we can. However, the timeframes are at the subject of the courts and the legal system.  

Ratepayers will not pay for these legal costs. Council’s insurers will cover these legal costs