Royal Dutch Shell has abandoned its argument that the oil pollution lawsuit filed against it by the Ogale and Bille communities in Rivers state, be heard in Nigeria rather than the UK.
Bloomberg reports that Shell’s legal team refused to return to the High Court of England with the argument that the five-year-old case would be better heard in Nigeria, according to the parties in the case, conceding that the Nigerian subsidiary will now be joined to claims made in England against the parent company.
In a landmark ruling on February 12, the UK Supreme Court allowed the communities to pursue legal action against Shell in English courts over the oil spills by its subsidiary.
The communities are pursuing legal claims against Shell in the UK after claiming that “there is no hope of justice in the Nigerian courts.”
Although Shell did not dispute that the communities had suffered pollution, it argued that the case was outside the UK’s jurisdiction.
Daniel Leader, lawyer who represents the claimants, said “this is a significant win” for the affected communities because it means they can finally bring their case to trial.
“Shell’s oil contamination remains in their drinking water, land and waterways, and still no clean-up has taken place,” he said.
The news agency also reported that Shell declined to comment on the latest development.
In January, a Dutch court ruled that Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary pay damages to four Niger Delta communities for oil spills that they say caused widespread pollution of the land.
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