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ENGLISH HIGH COURT TO DECIDE JURISDICTION OVER POLLUTION IN ZAMBIA

04/18/2016

Four Zambian villages have sued Vedanta Resources, a mining company based in London, for contaminating their water sources and land since 2004 through its mining operations. The villagers, who have fallen sick and have suffered huge crop losses, are asking Vedanta Resources and its Zambian subsidiary for compensation. Although the subsidiary is responsible for the alleged violations, the villagers have petitioned the high court in London to hear the case because they claim Vedanta Resources exercises control over its subsidiary’s activities. But the defendant is expected to claim a lack of jurisdiction, asking for a Zambian court to hear the case. The high court’s decision over its own jurisdiction will have huge implications for future disputes against multinationals. If the court decides for the villagers, other London-based mining and oil companies could be sued for damages caused in poor countries. This would not be the first time a European court rules over foreign violations, as other English and Dutch courts have affirmed their jurisdiction in the past. For the full story, read http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/apr/12/mining-giant-vedanta-resources-uk-court-zambia-villagers-case-alleging-pollution.