19 December 2015, Lagos – Dutch appeals court has ruled that Nigerian farmers can sue Royal Dutch Shell in Netherlands for pollution they blame on oil spills from the pipelines of the company’s Nigerian subsidiary.
Judges in The Hague ordered Shell to make available to the court documents that might cast light on the cause of the spills and whether leading managers were aware of them.
A lower Dutch court had in 2013 found that Shell’s parent company could not be held liable for leakages of oil at its Nigerian subsidiary.
In that ruling, judges said Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary was partly responsible and ordered it to compensate farmers and fishermen in one claim, but not in the three other claims.
The legal dispute dates back to 2008 when four Nigerian farmers and a campaign group, Friends of the Earth, filed a suit against Shell in its global headquarters, Netherlands.
“Shell can be taken to court in the Netherlands for the effects of the oil spills. Shell is also ordered to provide access to documents that could shed more light on the cause of the leaks,” the court was quoted by Reuters to have said on Friday.