That Nigerian case against Shell

He was represented in court this week by the British firm Leigh Day, which argued that Shell should be liable for failing to protect its pipelines to prevent criminal damage.

As I understand it, peeps breach the pipelines to nick stuff, this causes pollution, that disease, and this is Shell’s fault.

Under English law? Rilly?

“It is a UK registered company and that is why we came to the High Court in London seeking justice….the legal system in Nigeria is highly corrupt and there is no way we could get justice [from a Nigerian court.]

“Even if you tried it could take twenty to thirty years. But we do not have that time as the situation is an emergency.”

Bit colonial, innit?

Presumably I’m the only one whose opinion is “Well dodgy” when I see Leigh Day is involved?

16 comments on “That Nigerian case against Shell

  1. “As I understand it, peeps breach the pipelines to nick stuff, this causes pollution, that disease, and this is Shell’s fault.”

    Interesting. Shell being the victim of criminal damage in Nigeria by Nigerians is somehow a class action case against Shell in the UK.

  2. Leigh Day, in my limited experience of the firm, employs very capable lawyers. But I daresay it helps, if you want to work there, to have a certain mindset, and one with which many here, me included, would disapprove. I trust that deals with the ‘well dodgy’ point.

  3. It is interesting to see that the Left actually knows the truth. They usually call it racism, but when it suits them, they are happy to state it.

  4. English law is the preferred jurisdiction for international dispute resolution, and it brings in lot of foreign exchange. I can’t see the problem here.

  5. I wonder if I could get compensation from the Royal Navy for contamination of my tonic water with diesel (HMS BRAZEN, Op ARMILLA, 1987)?

    I’m sure I could blame all sorts of strange and devastating diseases on it 🙂

  6. Oil companies in Nigeria are not allowed to hire their own people to protect the pipelines, they have to engage – and pay for – the local police or army to do it. Unsurprisingly, they turn out to be useless and corrupt. If Shell is being held responsible for the protection of its pipelines then they should be given commensurate autonomy to do the job effectively. But then who would employ the Nigerian police, and what would they do all day?

  7. Does anyone have an email address for Leigh Day’s senior partner?

    A friend has a Nigerian prince relative who wants to arrange for a money transfer to be made with a healthy commission payable.

  8. It’s not uncommon in the Nigerian oil and gas industry for contracts to refer specifically to English law and to demand resolution in London courts. Leigh Day are a bunch of highly-capable and deeply politically motivated chancers though.

    Whatever happened to the move to strike some people off last year after the Iraq nonsense they indulged in?
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/12083609/Lawyers-face-prospect-of-being-struck-off-over-Iraq-abuse-claims.html

  9. Sounds like those cases where a homeowner is somehow liable if a burglar injures themselves in your home. I’m struggling to find an example of a successful prosecution though.

    The Nigerian situation is more like a thief who runs over a pedestrian while driving a stolen car. The owner of the car might be responsible if he knew that the brakes were faulty. Again, I can’t find any case histories.

  10. “Presumably I’m the only one whose opinion is “Well dodgy” when I see Leigh Day is involved?”

    Nope, this was my thought as I read the quote and got to their name.

  11. @ Andrew M
    Under English law, the prosecution needs to demonstrate a mens rea to get a conviction so that would only occur if someone booby-trapped their home to injure burglars – like setting man-traps for poachers. The burglar could sue in civil law if the homeowner’s culpable negligence would have led to the injury of an innocent visitor or a VAT Inspector. Someone like PIL might try it on because the homeowner would know that he’d never get his defence costs back from the burglar and it would be cheaper to pay the unjustified claim, but if it went to trial the burglar would lose on the grounds that “the law cannot protect a man from his own folly”.

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