British Supreme Court on Tuesday heard an appeal from Nigerian communities against oil giant company, Shell over spills in the oil-producing region, Niger Delta.
The appeal is a significant step in ensuring British multinationals are held accountable for their actions abroad.
This is coming after a court in the nation’s capital, London, in 2018 gave a verdict that the Nigerian farmers and fishermen’s claim of Shell actions in their communities could not be pursued in England.
According to the news agency who reported the news, Reuters, a judgement for the Ogale and Bille communities is expected this year or early nex year, 2021.
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The main question for British courts is whether they have jurisdiction over claims against Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company, which is jointly operated with the Nigerian government.
Shell’s subsidiary has said “claims by Nigerian communities against a Nigerian company about events in Nigeria should be heard in Nigeria and not the UK”.
The Nigerian unit says the spills are chiefly due to oil theft, sabotage and illegal refining.
The Supreme Court ruled last year that Zambian villagers had the right to sue Indian-listed mining company Vedanta in England.
The Vedanta decision was frequently cited in Tuesday’s hearing, as lawyers for the Nigerian communities and Shell contested whether the cases were similar.
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