Vedanta is seeking to overturn the High Court and Court of Appeal rulings which held that the case of 1,826 polluted farmers against the company and its subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines in the UK instead of
The case could represent a precedent in UK law, as, if a duty of care is found to be owed by Vedanta towards the claimants, this would be the first reported case in which a parent company would have been held to owe a duty of care to a person affected by the operations of a subsidiary who is not an employee of the subsidiary. Therefore this is an important day for all communities affected by the crimes of UK multinationals who have hitherto been denied justice in British courts.
The claimants, represented by UK law firm Leigh Day, are from farming and fishing communities downstream of KCM’s mines and plants. They have suffered continual pollution since UK firm Vedanta Resources bought KCM in
- In 2006 a major pollution spill hospitalised hundreds who drank River
Kafue water containing 10 x acceptable levels of copper, 770 x manganese and 100 x cobalt.
In April 2016 the High Court found in the villagers’ favour that their case demanding compensation for personal injury and loss of livelihood due to gross pollution could be heard in the UK. The judgment was an indictment of
KCM’s financial secrecy, historic dishonesty and attempts to pervert the course of justice. Vedanta appealed the decision but the London Court of Appeals upheld the verdict in favour of the claimants on 5th July 2017 despite Vedanta’s lawyers warning that the ruling could ‘open the floodgates’ to other claimants and urging judges to ‘police this gateway’ to the UK jurisdiction.