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7 Nov 2023


Scotland's highest civil appeal court halts tea pickers' case against James Finlay, ruling that redress should first be pursued in Kenya

"Tea pickers' Scottish compensation case on hold", 7 Nov 2023

Appeal judges have halted a compensation case brought by Kenyan tea pickers against their employer in Scotland's highest civil court.

James Finlay Kenya Ltd (JFK) is fighting the multi-million pound damages claim at the Court of Session.

In a major setback to their case, the workers have been told they should seek redress in Kenya before the Scottish action can go any further...

They are considering an appeal to the UK Supreme Court...

Throughout the action, JFK has argued it has no connection to Scotland, other than its registered historical address, and that the claims should be dealt with in Kenya.

Earlier this year Court of Session judge Lord Weir ruled that the case should be allowed to proceed in Scotland.

That was challenged by JFK's lawyers in the Inner House of the Court of Session, the country's highest civil appeal court.

The Inner House has now ruled that the cause should be "sisted," meaning it's been stopped from going any further for now.

The three judges concluded that the workers could not show at this stage whether or not they could get redress through Kenya's Work Injury Benefits Act (WIBA), a no-fault compensation scheme.

They also ruled that the Kenyan workers had the right to appeal to the country's Employment and Labour Relations Court.

In a written judgement... [the judges] said if they were presented with evidence that WIBA was not giving the workers justice, the Scottish case could be allowed to resume.

Solicitor Patrick McGuire, who's representing the tea workers involved in the case, said he was surprised and disappointed by the judgement...

Mr McGuire said the case which had been sisted involved 2,700 workers. Another 1,000 are taking part in an associated case which was brought to a temporary halt by the courts in Kenya...