Friday, December 18, 2015 1:23 pm
A Dutch appeals court ruled on Friday that Royal Dutch Shell could be held liable for oil spills at its Nigerian subsidiary, a ruling that could open the way for more cases against the multi-national company.
The decision overturns a ruling by a lower court in 2013, which found the parent company could not be held liable.
Judges in The Hague ordered Shell to make available to the court documents that might shed light on the cause of the oil spills and whether leading managers were aware of them.
The legal dispute dates back to 2008 when four Nigerian farmers and campaign group “Friends of the Earth” filed suit against the oil company in Netherlands, where its global headquarters is based.
“Shell can be taken to court in the Netherlands for the effects of the oil spills,” the court ruling stated on Friday.
“Shell is also ordered to provide access to documents that could shed more light on the cause of the leaks.”
Judge Hans van der Klooster said the court had also found that it “has jurisdiction in the case against Shell and its subsidiary in Nigeria”.
The case has been adjourned till March for hearing.