Acquista Investments Pty Ltd v Urban Renewal Authority

The High Court will hear an appeal against a decision of the South Australian Supreme Court on the validity of a State government decision to sell crown land and judicial review of cabinet decisions. The appellants, two waste management companies engaged in a joint venture, seek to challenge a decision of the South Australian Cabinet to enter into a deed arrangement between the Urban Renewal Authority, the Minister for State Development and the third respondent, ACP, (a competitor of the appellants) to grant ACP the option to purchase crown land and develop an ‘oil and gas hub’. A majority of the SASC dismissed the appeal, holding that Cabinet decisions could not be subject to judicial review on the basis that, among other things, the Court could not assume that all the material before Cabinet or arguments for or against the proposal were tendered to the Court, and that the decision involved not just question of commercial viability but also policy and strategy, and that the decision only affected the rights, interests or legitimate expectations of the parties to the contract, and not those of the appellant (see [13]–[14] and [57]ff). Before the High Court the appellant seeks to argue that the deed was invalid for want of a valid delegation and exercise of power from the Authority to Cabinet, and that the decision was legally unreasonable because Cabinet failed to take into account the statutory duties of public corporations, applicable to the Authority, to perform commercial operations in accordance with the prudent commercial principles. A hearing date before the Full Court is yet to be announced.


High Court Judgment
High Court Documents Acquista Investments
Full Court Hearing
Special Leave Hearing [2015] HCATrans 295 13 November 2015
Appeal from SASCFC [2015] SASCFC 91 20 July 2015
Trial Judgment, SASC
[2014] SASC 206 24 December 2014
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About Martin Clark

Martin Clark is a PhD Candidate and Judge Dame Rosalyn Higgins Scholar at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Research Fellow at Melbourne Law School. He holds honours degrees in law, history and philosophy from the University of Melbourne, and an MPhil in Law from MLS. While at MLS, he worked as a researcher for several senior faculty members, was a 2012 Editor of the Melbourne Journal of International Law, tutor at MLS and various colleges, a Jessie Legatt Scholar, and attended the Center for Transnational Legal Studies Program.