The use of arbitration panels is now before the Court of Appeal
Galway developer Danny Williams and the City of St. John’s are going for another round in court, this time in the Court of Appeal.
The city is appealing a Supreme Court decision regarding its use of arbitration panels for developments in the capital city.
Justice Frances Knickle ruled that the city has a right to use arbitration panels to settle disputes between developers and the city, but it did not have the right to prevent developers from taking the matters to court.
On Friday, the matter was back before the courts, this time the Court of Appeal, with Justices Gale Welsh, Charles White and Francis O’Brien presiding.
Lawyer Ian Kelly, arguing on behalf of the city, said the power to use the arbitration clause stems from provincial legislation and grants the ability to encourage developers to use arbitration, rather than relying on the courts.
Lawyer Jerome Kennedy, arguing on behalf of Williams’ 10718 NFLD Inc., argued many of the same points brought up in the previous court battle and said he didn’t see how Knickle erred in her judgment on the matter.
Kennedy says the arbitration clause restricts a developer’s access to the court process, while Kelly maintains that the existing panels still allow a developer to go to court if they choose to do so.
The result last time saw the arbitration clauses taken out of the existing development agreements between the Galway developer and the city.
In the courtroom, Kennedy said Williams has spent more than $95 million on the Galway project to date.
Neither the city nor Kennedy would provide comment on the matter, as it’s currently before the courts.
A written decision on the matter is expected in the coming weeks.