Ngurampaa Ltd v Balonne Shire Council [2014] QSC 146

The Balonne Shire Council levied general rates upon the property owned by Ngurampaa Limited in the amount of $3,062.80, which the applicant failed to pay, and summary judgment was awarded against the applicant and in favour of the council in a proceeding brought to recover the overdue rates. The applicant sought an order that the decision be stayed, an order by way of prohibition, preventing any execution by the Magistrates Court of its orders, and an order of prohibition against the first respondent prohibiting any execution by the first respondent in respect of the rates notice, on the grounds that:

“… an application is in process of being filed in the International Court of Justice by Wirring-un Ghillar of the Ghurrieburrah (aka Michael John Eckford) and on behalf of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic.”

In Ngurampaa Ltd v Balonne Shire Council [2014] QSC 146 the applicant sought to contend that Australian domestic law, including laws of the State of Queensland concerning the levying of rates, do not apply to the Euahlayi People as members of that putative State, nor to the applicant corporation whose members are said to be members of that putative State.  The applicant submitted the claim of sovereignty of the Euahlayi Nation is not justiciable in Australian courts and therefore “cannot be interfered with”, but must be assumed. It was contended that such sovereignty was:

“…established by the Euahlayi Peoples Republic’s Declaration of Independence and the pre-existing and continuing sovereign independence of the Euahlayi Nations and Peoples”.

The court held that the arguments advanced were without merit, referred to the relevant High Court decisions on the matters raised, and dismissed the originating application. It noted, much the same as the point I made to Mark McMurtrie when he raised the proposition of the International Court of Justice, that:

“The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations: see Article 92 of the Charter of the United Nations.  It is established and constituted by and functions in accordance with the Statute of the International Court of Justice, which is an integral part of the Charter of the United Nations and is annexed thereto.  Only States may be parties in cases before the International Court of Justice.  The Euahlayi People’s Republic is not a member of the United Nations and it does not, as a matter of international law, have access to the International Court of Justice.  The International Court of Justice may only deal with a dispute when the States concerned have recognised its jurisdiction.  No State can therefore be a party to proceedings before the International Court of Justice unless it has in some manner or other consented thereto. As the first respondent submitted, there is not a scintilla of evidence that Australia in some manner or other has consented to being a party to any proceeding sought to be brought by the Euahlayi People’s Republic before the International Court of Justice.”

Click to access ngurampaa-ltd-v-balonne-shire-council-anor-2014-qsc-146.pdf