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Gramgari v Crawford
Papua New Guinea
Asia and the Pacific
Type of document:
National - higher court
Date of text:
January 30, 2013
Data source:
Court name:
National Court of Justice
Seat of court:
Port Moresby
Cannings J.
Reference number:
[2013] PGNC 14
ECOLEX subject(s):
Legal questions

The plaintiff Gramgari is a customary landowner in the Lower Ramu area. He has brought an action against PNG Tropical Wood Products for “unlawful harvesting of timber and environmental damage on his clan's land.” The case considered whether the defendant was liable.

In reaching its decision, the Court considered s 7(1) of the Environment Act 2000:

A person shall not carry out an activity that causes or is likely to cause an environmental harm unless the person takes all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent or minimise the environmental harm.

The Court, citing s 7(3), held that a “plaintiff cannot obtain a civil remedy by just arguing or even proving a breach of the general environmental duty.” Despite this, the plaintiff was successful in recovering damages under the tort of trespass.


(Contribution:  Case provided by Charley Xu from the Queensland University of Technology)