More than 40,000 Nigerians will on Thursday discover if London’s High Court can rule on their pollution claims against Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell over spills in the Niger Delta.
Lawyers for the claimants are demanding action from Shell to clean up spills that have devastated their communities for decades, but the multinational argues that the claims should be heard in Nigeria.
Bottled water samples stand on a table as Nigerian tribal king Emere Godwin Bebe Okpabi speaks during an interview in central London on November 21, 2016. Britain’s High Court will on November 22, begin to hear arguments on whether the English Courts can hear two legal claims on behalf of over 40,000 Nigerians against Royal Dutch Shell and its Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), in relation to environmental damage caused to two separate communities in the Niger Delta.
The firm’s lawyer Peter Goldsmith told judge Peter Fraser during a hearing in November that the cases concerned “fundamentally Nigerian issues”, and shouldn’t be heard in London.