abusesaffiliationarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upattack-typeburgerchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upClock iconclosedeletedevelopment-povertydiscriminationdollardownloademailenvironmentexternal-linkfacebookfiltergenderglobegroupshealthC4067174-3DD9-4B9E-AD64-284FDAAE6338@1xinformation-outlineinformationinstagraminvestment-trade-globalisationissueslabourlanguagesShapeCombined Shapeline, chart, up, arrow, graphLinkedInlocationmap-pinminusnewsorganisationotheroverviewpluspreviewArtboard 185profilerefreshIconnewssearchsecurityPathStock downStock steadyStock uptagticktooltiptwitteruniversalityweb

15 Feb 2018

UK: Appeal court rules Nigerian communities cannot pursue Shell in English courts over oil spills

40,000 Nigerian farmers and fisherman from two communities (Ogale Community and the Bille Community) in the Niger Delta impacted by oil spills brought a claim against Shell in the English Courts on the basis that Shell from its UK headquarters controlled and directed Shell Nigeria, a subsidiary they alleged was responsible for the spills. In January 2017, the High Court ruled that the claim against Shell could  not proceed as Shell was merely a holding company which did not exercise any control over its Nigerian subsidiary.

The communities appealed and on 14 February the Court of Appeal handed down its judgment. In a split decision (2 to 1), it held the English Courts do not have jurisdiction over the claims. Two of the three judges held that the case against Shell was “bound to fail” and therefore could not proceed because there was insufficient evidence to show that Shell actively controlled its Nigerian subsidiary's operations. A third judge disagreed; his view was that the claim against Shell was “well arguable”.

Lawyers for the two communities say they will appeal to the Supreme Court.