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Netherlands: Nigeria case to be heard in Dutch court

Date: 1 Jan 2010

Shell garage

A suit brought against oil giant Shell by four Nigerian farmers can be heard in a Dutch court, it has been ruled. Shell had opposed the move, arguing that it court had no authority in the case.

The Nigerian farmers are looking for compensation for pollution on their land in the Niger Delta which they claim has been caused by a local subsidiary of Shell's. Shell denies responsibility, saying that the oil spills were caused by sabotage by militant groups and the company could not be held responsible for such acts.

Shell has already paid compensation, whilst not admitting liability, for a separate case over alleged human rights abuses in the same region.

The case is the latest example of companies being tried in their home legal jurisdiction for actions that take place wholly elsewhere.

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