UK Court dismisses Vedanta Resources appeal & allows claim of villagers over water pollution in Zambia to proceed

Nchanga copper mine photo credit BlueSalo

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Article
13 October 2017

Court of Appeal upholds ruling that claims by Zambian villagers against mining giant can be heard in UK court

Author: Leigh Day

The Court of Appeal has today upheld a High Court ruling allowing the legal case on behalf of 1,826 Zambian villagers against UK mining giant Vedanta Resources Plc and its Zambian subsidiary, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to continue to be heard in the UK Courts.

The Zambian villagers allege that their land and livelihood has been destroyed by the pollution from the Nchanga Copper Mine owned by Vedanta Resources PLC through their subsidiary KCM, going into the Mushishima river.

In 2015 the villagers took their legal action against Vedanta and KCM to the High Court and in Mr Justice Coulson’s judgment, handed down on 27 May 2016, he agreed that the Claimants had a legal right to bring their claim against the UK company, Vedanta Resources Plc, through the courts in the UK...

Vedanta and KCM took the High Court judgment to the Court of Appeal in July 2017...

In today’s judgment from the Court of Appeal Lord Justice Simon uphold[s] the original High Court judgment and dismiss[es] the appeals...

The judgment also sought to clarify the duty of care a parent company owes when operating via a subsidiary...

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Article
13 October 2017

KCM [Konkola Copper Mines] Announcement

Author: Vedanta Resources

Vedanta Resources Plc ("Vedanta") and Konkola Copper Mines ("KCM") announced that they have challenged the jurisdiction of the English courts to hear and adjudicate the claims by Zambian residents in relation to KCM's operations in Zambia. On 27 May 2016, the English High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, Technology and Construction Court ruled that the English courts have jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate the claims. Vedanta and KCM appealed this ruling.

The English Court of Appeal today released a judgment, dismissing this appeal and ruling that the English courts have jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate the claims.

This judgment relates solely to the jurisdiction of the English courts to hear these claims.  It is not a ruling or a determination on the merits of the claims. 

Vedanta and KCM are examining the Court's judgment and will seek permission to appeal the Court's decision.

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Article
13 October 2017

Zambian villagers win right to sue Vedanta in English courts

Author: Barbara Lewis, Reuters

Nearly 2,000 Zambian villagers have won the right to sue Vedanta Resources in the English courts in a ruling that could lead to other multinationals being pursued in London for their activities overseas...

Vedanta said in a statement it would seek the right to appeal to the Supreme Court...adding the decision was on jurisdiction only and “was not a ruling or a determination on the merits of the claims”.

Three senior High Court judges dismissed an appeal by Vedanta and its Zambian subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) against a ruling in May last year when a High Court judge decided the claim could proceed in the English courts...

The villagers allege that their land and livelihood have been destroyed by water pollution caused by the Nchanga Copper Mine, which is owned by Vedanta through its subsidiary KCM.

London law firm Leigh Day argued the English courts were the only route for the villagers...while Vedanta said Zambia was the appropriate jurisdiction...

Martyn Day, senior partner at Leigh Day, said the ruling was “a very important step forward in our clients’ fight for justice”...

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