Nigeria: UK Court Halts Shell's Bid to Stop Bodo Community's Suit Over Cleanup

Bodo Creek in May 2011.

A British judge, Mrs. Justice Cockerill, has ruled that Bodo community in Nigeria, which had been involved in a protracted legal battle with Shell over the cleanup of two 2008 oil spills, should retain the option of litigation for another year.

The judge ruled that the community should be allowed to continue their legal action against the oil giant in the United Kingdom (UK) courts to force them to clean up their oil pollution.

She refused to place any limitation on when the community could come back to court to make sure the clean-up takes place properly.

The judgment by Cockerill follows a hearing on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 where Shell had attempted to block the Bodo community from coming back to court in England in the future.

The Bodo community was devastated by two large oil spills that occurred in October and December 2008.

Shell failed to shut down the spills for over five weeks on each occasion.

According to Leigh Day, counsel to the community, Shell sought to impose onerous terms on the ability of the community to lift any stay - the effect of which would be to kill off the claim.

He stated that he was very concerned by the appointment of one of the clean-up contractors, INKAS, which is not qualified to do the cleanup.

Also, Dan Leader from the international team of Leigh Day said: "The community just want Shell to cleanup its oil. It has taken Shell almost a decade to start a proper cleanup process and even that is only because of the pressure of the litigation in London. The court has rightly rejected Shell's attempt to restrict the community's legal rights. Now Shell must show that it can deliver an effective cleanup, otherwise the community will not hesitate to hold them to account."

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