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27 Jul 2021


Brazil: Victory as Mariana Dam Victims’ £5bn Case is Reopened in Landmark English Court Ruling

"Victory As Mariana Dam Victims’ £5bn Case Is Reopened In Landmark English Court Ruling", 27 July, 2021

Some 200,000 victims of the Mariana Dam environmental disaster in Brazil are today celebrating having been granted permission to reopen their £5bn case against mining giant BHP after a landmark English court ruling.

The case against BHP had been struck out last year but, in a judgment published today (27 July) a panel of judges reopened the case and granted permission to appeal.

The judgment concludes: “Whilst we fully understand the considerations that led the judge to his conclusion that the claim should be struck out, we nevertheless believe that the appeal has a real prospect of success.”

The ruling allows the case to be reopened under exceptional appeals legislation (CPR 52.30), ‘in order to avoid real injustice’, after a High Court judge refused jurisdiction in November 2020, a decision affirmed in an initial appeal ruling in March 2021.

Tom Goodhead, Managing Partner at PGMBM who have been battling for the claimants, said: “This is a monumental judgement and our clients feel like this is the first time that any judges have recognised the importance of this case.

... “We look to recent precedent, including the Supreme Court’s 2019 decision that Vedanta did have a case to answer in England over their responsibilities to Zambian villagers affected by pollution caused by one of their companies, as well as the ruling that Shell can be sued in English courts by Nigerian communities affected by the company’s operations there.”

... The claimants believe that upon appeal they can establish jurisdiction in England against BHP Group Plc, a company domiciled in England, and BHP Group Limited, a company domiciled in Australia.

Dates for the claimants’ case to be heard by the Court of Appeal are yet to be set ...