Vedanta Resources lawsuit (re water contamination, Zambia)
In September 2015, a group of Zambian villagers filed a lawsuit against Vedanta Resources in UK court over water pollution caused by its subsidiary's copper mining operations. They claim that the water pollution from the Nchanga Copper Mine damaged their lands and livelihoods.
On 27 May 2016, an English High Court judge ruled that the lawsuit against Vedanta Resources may proceed. In July, the companies appealed and challenged the English courts' jurisdiction. On 13 October 2017, the Court of Appeal dismissed the companies' appeal and allowed the villagers to pursue their claim in the UK.
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Author: Oliver Holland, Leigh Day
...The Claimants are 1,826 Zambian citizens who commenced proceedings against Vedanta, a UK domiciled multinational mining company, and its Zambian subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (“KCM”), a copper mining company operating one of the largest copper mines in the world.
The Claimants allege that as a result of the Defendants’ toxic effluent discharge from their Nchanga Copper Mine they have suffered loss of income through damage to the land and waterways on which they rely. They further contend that many are suffering from personal injuries as a result of having to consume and use polluted water. They are seeking damages, remediation and cessation to the alleged continual pollution that they say is gravely impacting their lives.
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...
...By an order dated 16 June 2016, following a judgment dated 27 May, Coulson J (‘the Judge’) dismissed the jurisdictional challenges brought by Vedanta and KCM, who appeal against that order.
This judgment is divided into the following parts:
A. The hearings and an outline of the claimants’ claim
B. Vedanta’s applications
C. KCM’s applications
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.
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”...
Author: Daily Nation (Zambia)
VEDANTA group of companies, which owns Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has opened a legal battle over whether an English court has jurisdiction to decide a claim on behalf of Zambian villagers seeking compensation for what they say is damage to their health and land by KCM...Vedanta Chief Executive Tom Albanese confirmed the action by his company...but said he only expected to know the outcome this year. Mr Albanese also said US$100 million payment to the Zambian Government ordered by an English court over outstanding payments from a 2013 agreement had also been dealt with...
- Related stories: Vedanta Resources lawsuit (re water contamination, Zambia)
- Related in-depth areas: Latest Legal News
- Related companies: Konkola Copper Mines (joint venture Vedanta Resources, Zambia Copper Investments & ZCCM Investments) Vedanta Resources
Author: John Hyde, Law Society Gazette (UK)
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.
Author: Leigh Day
A lawyer from the international group claims team at Leigh Day was arrested in Zambia as he met with four communities bringing claims against Vedanta Resources plc and their subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines...[A] lawyer from Leigh Day was in Zambia to meet with the communities to discuss their claims which relate to alleged pollution from the copper mine in Chingola which they claim is causing damage to farming land and water sources of our clients...Mr Holland was held without charge in the police cells for four hours without access to a lawyer, food or water. According to Leigh Day this was an ‘excessive response’ to the eventual charge of ‘conduct likely to cause a breach of peace’ which is a misdemeanour, not a criminal offence, which resulted in Mr Holland paying a ZMK50 ($5) fine...Mr Holland said: “We will be writing immediately to KCM’s lawyers to obtain a full explanation as to their seeming involvement into my arrest...
Author: Zambia Daily Mail
"Vedanta to contest UK court pollution ruling", 6 June 2016
Vedanta Resources and its subsidiary, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), will challenge the jurisdiction of the English court to hear and adjudicate the water pollution claims by Chingola residents in relation to KCM’s operations in Zambia...In a statement posted on the Vedanta website, Vedanta Resources president-group communications and sustainability Roma Balwani said...“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 considering all options, including an appeal of the Court’s decision,”...The villagers allege that their water sources and farming land were contaminated by the copper mining operations of both companies, and that they have suffered continual pollution since 2004, causing them to fall sick and lose their crops.
Author: Leigh Day
A High Court judge has agreed that a legal claim against UK based mining giant Vedanta Resources Plc and its subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), on behalf of 1,826 Zambian villagers can proceed in the UK Courts. In his ruling, handed down today, Mr Justice Coulson granted jurisdiction over the claims, which involve allegations of serious environmental pollution, and rejected the Defendants’ arguments that the cases must be brought in Zambia...Both UK-based Vedanta and Zambian KCM argued that the UK court had no jurisdiction to try the claims against them. Lawyers for the mining companies argued that the claims against both Defendants should be tried in Zambia because the Claimants are Zambian and the damage occurred in Zambia. However, Leigh Day, the lawyers for the claimants, argued that the cases should be tried by the English courts. They argued that under EU law the Claimants had a legal right to bring a claim against UK-based Vedanta. They also argued that Vedanta should bear equal legal responsibility, given its control over its mining subsidiary, the profit it makes from the mine and its alleged knowledge of the pollution.