High Court grants Nigerian fisherman right to revive oil spill legal battle with Shell


The High Court has granted a Nigerian community the right to revive a legal action against Shell in an effort to force them to clean up pollution.

In October and December 2008, the Bodo fishing community was devastated by two large oil spills which Shell failed to shut down for five weeks on each occasion. After litigation in the UK in 2015, the community settled its claim with Shell for £55 million and it was agreed that a clean-up operation of the area would take place. The community chose to put on hold a legal challenge to force Shell to clean up their environment on the basis that they had the right to return to court in the future if the clean-up was not taking place to an appropriate standard. This week’s judgment follows an attempt by Shell to block the community from returning to court in England in the future, and means that the court is not willing to place any limitations  on when the community could return to court in the future to make sure that the clean-up takes place properly.

Richard Hermer QC and Chris Buttler were instructed by Leigh Day on behalf of the Bodo Community.