An interesting aspect of Kimathi and Others v Foreign & Commonwealth Office  EWHC 2066 (QB) is how thoroughly it confirms that the past is a foreign country. Britain’s past comprises many foreign countries, once part of its Empire. The Kimathi litigation (also known as the ‘Mau Mau litigation’, after the Mau Mau rebellion that was instrumental in Kenya’s independence movement) has come probably at the only time it could come in these postcolonial days, but it has come too late to be suitable for the forensic process that is civil litigation.
Members of 12 King’s Bench Walk’s International & Travel team have been instructed at various points throughout the course of this litigation by the Claimants, the FCO, and Intervening Parties. This post considers the implications of Stewart J’s first judgment on the merits and assesses the suitability of the civil litigation process for determination of the issues raised. Continue reading First Judgment on the Merits in the Kenya Emergency Group Litigation (TC34)
This blog is by Lois Aldred of 12 King’s Bench Walk.
The Court of Appeal recently handed down its judgment in AAA & Others v Unilever PLC and Unilever Tea Kenya Limited. This is the latest in a series of Court of Appeal considerations of the extent of corporate liability of parent companies for acts or omissions pertaining to the operations of subsidiaries.
The Claimants were employees of Unilever Tea Kenya Limited (‘UTKL’) who lived and worked on UTKL’s tea plantation in the southern Rift Valley of Kenya. They claimed against both Unilever and UTKL in tort for failing to protect them from the harm they suffered as a result of inter-tribal violence in the immediate aftermath of the 2007 Kenyan presidential election. Continue reading AAA & ORS v (1) UNILEVER PLC (2) UNILEVER TEA KENYA LTD (2018)  EWCA Civ 1532: the corporate veil remains a tightly woven garment
This blog is by John-Paul Swoboda of 12 King’s Bench Walk.
Chandler v Cape  EWCA Civ 525 was described in the Economist as “A little-noticed court case with big implications”. That was because it was the first time a parent company had successfully been sued for, as the Economist put it, the sins of their subsidiary. The prediction that there would be big implications appears, with the Lungowe case, to be coming to pass. The Lungowe case concerns 1,800 claimants, all of them Zambians alleging personal injury and property damage in Zambia whilst in the employment of a Zambian company (‘KCM’) due to an alleged toxic discharge from KCM’s mine into the water table. In other words, the Lungowe case concerns the export of huge group litigation, from a country with little access to justice, to the English Courts. The export of this group litigation was made possible, in this author’s opinion, by the Court of Appeal’s decision in Chandler and the European Court of Justice’s decision in Owusu v Jackson (Case C-281/02)  QB 801 which allows claimants to anchor jurisdiction in English courts where one of the proposed defendants is domiciled in England. In this case the first defendant or ‘Vedanta’ was the anchoring defendant and the parent company of KCM. Continue reading Lungowe & Ors v Vedanta Resources Plc v Konkola Copper Mines Plc  EWCA Civ 1528: Anchoring defendants, and suing the parent for the sins of their subsidiaries
In this post, Philip Mead of 12 King’s Bench Walk considers the third decision in a series of African cases where complex group action personal injury claims have been sought to be litigated in the English Courts, following Lungowe v Vedanta Resources Plc  EWHC 975 (TCC) (heard by Coulson J) and Okpabi v Royal Dutch Shell  EWHC 89 (TCC) (heard by Fraser J). Continue reading AAA and others v Unilever Plc and Unilever Tea Kenya Ltd  EWHC 371 (QB); international personal injury & justiciability
This post is by Aliyah Akram of 12 King’s Bench Walk.
The case involved 42,500 residents of the Niger Delta, from two different communities, who sought to bring a claim in the High Court for damages arising from environmental pollution caused by, they alleged, oil spills from the Defendants’ pipelines.
The claim was brought against two defendants. Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (“SPDC”), the Shell company responsible for the oil operations and Royal Dutch Shell (“RDS”) its ultimate parent company. Continue reading His Royal Highness Okpabi v Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Lucky Alame v Royal Dutch Shell Plc  EWHC 89 (TCC); Jurisdiction and international environmental group actions