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Corporate legal accountability for human rights abuses: Group claims in England & Wales

Author: Martyn Day, Leigh Day & Co Solicitors, Published on: 1 July 2008

My area of the law is group damages claims.  I believe that these claims play a crucial role in ensuring that multi-national companies are held to account and that there is a system that ensures that where groups of people are injured or suffer damage from a common cause, that they can readily obtain justice through the courts...A major issue for us has been the funding of such claims...Over the last ten years we have seen the slow squeezing of the life out of the legal aid system and the impact that has had on the amount of money available to fund group claims led to those of us who specialise in representing the claimants in these cases to concluding that such claims were doomed...Much of our work involves representing those injured or damaged who live in the developing world.  The decision in the European Court case of Owusuhas meant that we have had no real problems over the issue of jurisdiction since that time...The importance of these claims should never be underestimated...I am only grateful that in England and Wales we have a system which enables these claims to be brought. [Refers to BP, Cape/Gencor, Trafigura]

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Related companies: BP Cape PLC Gencor (mining) Trafigura Beheer