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30 Apr 2018

NGOs urge UK Supreme Court to allow Nigerian communities to appeal decision that barred them from suing Shell in the UK over oil spill impacts

On 27 April 2018, more than 40 UK and international human rights, development and environmental NGOs submitted a letter to the UK Supreme Court in support of the claimants' application for permission to appeal in lawsuit brought by two Nigerian communities (Ogale and Bille) against Shell over the impacts of oil spill in the Niger Delta.  In February 2018, the Court of Appeal ruled that Royal Dutch Shell could not be held responsible for pollution caused by its Nigerian subsidiary.  In the letter submitted to the Supreme Court, the signatories assert that the reasoning of the Appeal Court could limit access to justice for people allegedly harmed by the global operations of the UK-headquartered companies' subsidiaries. On 9 July 2018, the UK Supreme Court responded to the letter to inform the organisations that the Appeal Panel had decided to defer consideration of the application to appeal until judgment had been given in a very similar parent company accountability case at the Supreme Court: Vedanta Resources PLC and another (Appellants) v Lungowe and others (Respondents).