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Vedanta to be sued by Zambian claimants in English Courts

News / 10-04-2019 / Vedanta to be sued by Zambian claimants in English Courts

That said, the specific facts of the case must be considered The claimants, from rural farming communities in Zambia, are pursuing Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) and its UK-based ultimate parent company Vedanta in the English courts Both defendants disputed jurisdiction on a number of grounds including abuse of EU law and a lack of real issue against Vedanta (which is the anchor' defendant for the purposes of establishing jurisdiction in England) The Supreme Court held that the claimants are allowed to bring their claim against the defendants in the English courts This is in spite of the fact that the Supreme Court held that the claimants failed to demonstrate that England is the proper place for the trial of their claims A vital factor in the Supreme Court finding for the claimants is the fact that the defendant companies failed on the substantial justice issue the judge had not misdirected himself in law in finding that the claimants would be deprived of substantial justice if the claims were brought in Zambia (due to lack of funding and the necessary legal resources to run their claims) and to challenge the previous decisions otherwise would be to try to overturn judicial fact-finding While the case turns on its specific facts and the appellate court's reluctance to overturn findings of fact, this judgment arguably paves the way for more foreign claimants to seek to establish jurisdiction in the English courts Whether this leads to an increase in opportunistic claims being filed in this jurisdiction while the Brussels Recast Regulation is still applicable in English law (given an impending though postponed Brexit) remains to be seen As an aside, the Supreme Court with an element of exasperation emphasised the requirement of proportionality in relation to jurisdiction appeal and noted the disproportionate way in which the jurisdiction issue had been litigated in this case
Kiran Soar

Kiran Soar Partner

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