SOAS University of London

Multinational Enterprises and Environmental Justice: Laws and Implications of Shell Nigeria and BP Colombia Cases


Date: 24 February 2016Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 24 February 2016Time: 8:30 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G3

Type of Event: Seminar

Daniel Leader, Barrister, Partner, Leigh Day
Shubhaa Srinivasan, Barrister, Partner, Leigh Day

Holding multinational enterprises legally liable for environmental damages caused in foreign countries has been one of the main challenges in the context of the regulations on multinational enterprises. The seminar will provide panel presentations and discussions of the case of the Bodo Community vs. Shell Petroleum Development Ltd. (2013) and the case of Pedro Florez Emiro Arroyo v Equion Energia Limited [formerly BP Exploration Company (Colombia) Ltd (BPXC)]. Both cases have provided breakthroughs in bringing British multinational corporates before the UK courts for damages claimed by communities from the developing world. The issues of laws, implications on future cases, and the questions of using litigation strategically in pursuing environmental justices in the transnational context will be discussed by the panellist lawyers who represented the local communities and individuals.

About the Panellists:

Daniel Leader is a barrister and Partner at Leigh Day with over 15 years litigation experience.  After 7 years at the Bar he joined Leigh Day’s ground-breaking international department and he now specialises in international human rights and environmental law and private international law with a particular focus on group actions by claimants from the developing world.  

Dan’s international caseload includes cases from Iraq, Kenya, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Recent significant cases include: Mutua & others v. the Foreign & Commonwealth Office [2013] (Colonial era torture of 5,000 Kenyans); The Bodo Community v. Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd [2013] (A claim by a community of 39,000 Nigerians for compensation and clean-up of their land arising out of extensive oil spills in the Niger Delta);  Al Rawi and others v Security Services [2011]  (Claims brought against the security services for complicity in torture by UK citizens and residents detained in Guantanamo Bay);  Locally Employed Civilians v Ministry of Defence, DFID and FCO [2008-10] (Claims brought by more than 50 Iraqi civilians employed by the British Government during the occupation of Iraq for failure to protect them against attack by insurgents);  The Baha Mousa Public Inquiry [2010] (A public inquiry, chaired by Sir William Gage, into the death and torture of an Iraqi civilian and the torture of nine other Iraqi civilians in the custody of the British Army in Basra, Iraq).

Dan was educated at Oxford University where he gained a first class degree and has an LLM in international law from UCL.  In 2001 he was awarded the Bar Council's Sydney Elland Goldsmith award for his contribution to pro bono work.  He is an external member of the Government steering board which oversees the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

Shubhaa Srinivasan is a partner at Leigh Day and trained as a barrister. She is one of the leading specialists in the field of international and environmental litigation often brought as multi-party actions. She also has expertise in complex personal injury claims.
Shubhaa represents both UK and foreign claimants against corporations and the British government. She is one of the few leading lawyers with expertise in human rights and corporate accountability litigation having acted in a variety of such cases which are often high profile.

Her most recent environmental case is Pedro Florez Emiro Arroyo v Equion Energia Ltd which went to a five month trial in the Technology and Construction Court. In this action Shubhaa represents 73 Colombian farmers against a former BP subsidiary who claim the oil company has caused devastating environmental damage to their farm land and water sources. This is one of the first corporate accountability cases to go to full trial in the UK and is almost certainly set to break new ground and develop jurisprudence in this complex field.   
Her other notable cases are Allbuttt & Ors v MoD (representing UK soldiers and their families for deaths and injuries during the Iraq war allegedly due to poor training), Smith & Ors v the Ministry of Defence [2013] UKSC 41 (Landmark Supreme Court decision allowing servicemen and women to bring legal claims when deaths and injuries occurred in the battlefield), Baha Mousa & 9 ors v MoD  (securing mediated settlement on behalf of the family of Baha Mousa and 9 Iraqi civilians for torture and mistreatment by British soldiers).