U.K. High Court Says Nigerians Can Sue Shell in Britain Over Oil Spills
LONDON – Britain’s Supreme Court on Friday said a group of about 50,000 Nigerian farmers and fishermen in the Niger Delta over the years could bring a case against the Royal Dutch Shell in the High Court of London that polluted their lands, wells and waterways is.
The judges said that the potential is that a parent company like Shell, headquartered in the Netherlands but a large British presence, has responsibility for the activities of subsidiaries such as Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, which operates in the Delta region.
Court Ruled in a lower court Said that there was no case against Shell in Britain. On Friday, the judges said that “an actual issue was to be tried.”
The ruling is “a pivotal moment in the accountability of multinationals”, said Daniel Leander, a partner in the British law firm Leh Day, who led the legal team representing Nigerian communities.
Mr. Leader said the decision would increase the ability of “spoiled communities” to hold powerful companies to account. Indeed, courts in Western countries have recently indicated that they were increasingly open to hearing such cases. Last month, a Netherlands court The government said that the shell was responsible for pollution In another case involving Nigerian farmers.
Ogle and cats are the ones who bring matters to Britain Their lives have been blurred over the years from damage caused by oil spills from shale-operated pipelines. Mr Leeder said they were bringing their claims to the UK because their chances of success in the Nigerian courts were far-fetched, noting that some lawyers would make the case and local potentials could claim money from a verdict. He said that the local people lacked access to legal representation and if they bring up a case, it would take several decades to reach a conclusion.
“By that time, everyone is dead,” Mr. Leader said.
Shell regularly accuses him of sabotage and criminal activity. According to Shell, Nigerian law requires compensation to be paid for losses caused by operational issues, but not for losses resulting from subversion.
A spokesperson for the company said in an email on Friday, “The spill over the issue occurred in communities affected by oil theft, illegal oil refining and pipelines sabotage.
Mr Leeder said that a case against Shell was likely to be brought to Britain, although he suggested that there could be more room for legal maneuvers by the oil company on jurisdiction issues. He said that until the shell is resolved, the case is likely to take two or three years. He refused to give an estimate of the damages that the Nigerian plaintiff may seek, the main issue being to force Shell to clean up the spill, with some saying that Shell had failed to do so.
“These communities are particularly polluted; It affects every aspect of their daily lives.
Shell said the company’s subsidiary in Nigeria cleaned up the mess “regardless of the cause”.
The company is also slowly selling its properties in the Delta, where people live, preferring to drill offshore from afar.