The UK Supreme Court on Friday allowed a group of 42,500 Nigerian farmers and fishermen to sue Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) in English courts after years of oil spills in the Niger Delta contaminated land and groundwater. Senior judges said there was an arguable case that UK-domiciled Shell, one of the world's biggest energy companies, is responsible, in the latest test of whether multinationals can be held to account for the acts of overseas subsidiaries. Represented by law firm Leigh Day, the group of Nigerians have argued that the parent company Shell owed them a duty of care because it either had significant control of, and was responsible for, its subsidiary SPDC. Shell countered that the court had no jurisdiction to try the claims. “(The ruling) also represents a watershed moment in the accountability of multinational companies. Increasingly impoverished communities are seeking to hold powerful corporate actors to account and this judgment will significantly increase their ability to do so," Daniel Leader, partner at Leigh Day, said. “UK common law is also used in countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand so this is a very helpful precedent.” The decision comes almost two years after a seminal ruling by ...read more...
SectorOil & Gas