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12 Jul 2021

Leigh Day

Nigerian communities’ oil pollution claims against Shell to go to trial as Shell abandons its jurisdiction arguments

The case Okpabi v Shell will go to trial in the English courts in which the Ogale and Bille communities seek clean up and reparations for oil pollution that has devastated their village and lands for decades.

The communities allege that both Royal Dutch Shell plc (the parent company) and its Nigerian subsidiary (SPDC) are jointly responsible for the oil contamination they have suffered. The English courts now has jurisdiction over both companies who will jointly defend the proceedings.

The trial is likely to lead to the disclosure, for the first time, of internal Shell documents about its environmental practices in Nigeria.

This comes at a time when the multinational has announced it is pulling out of the country, leaving behind a legacy of systemic oil pollution which has impacted hundreds of communities across Nigeria...

Shell has now confirmed that it will not contest the remaining jurisdictional issues and SPDC will therefore be joined to the claims against RDS...