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12 Jan 2017

John Hyde, Law Society Gazette (UK)

Leigh Day demands answers after lawyer arrest in Zambia

See all tags Allegations

Claimant firm Leigh Day will demand a full explanation after one of its lawyers was arrested meeting clients in Zambia...The firm had been meeting with local communities to discuss their claims relating to alleged pollution from a copper mine which they claim is causing damage to farming land and water sources.  The claim is against multinational corporation Vedanta Resources and its subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines.  Holland said the initial arresting officers involved were driving a vehicle displaying the Konkola Copper Mines logo...‘We will be seeking assurances both from the defendants and from the Zambian government that we will not be prevented from meeting our clients in the future. The ability for clients to meet with their lawyers is essential in their pursuit of justice and is a vital element of any fair and open society.’  Holland was arrested under the Public Order Act, which states that holding a meeting of more than three people requires a police permit.  The act is usually invoked during election times by political parties...Holland was eventually charged with the misdemeanour ‘conduct likely to cause a breach of peace’, which resulted in him paying a ZMK50 ($5/£4) fine.

Part of the following timelines

Zambia: Arrest of UK lawyer representing villagers in water contamination case against Vedanta Resources

Vedanta Resources lawsuit (re water contamination, Zambia)