Skip to content

Statement: CAFOD response to UK Supreme Court decision on Okpabi et al. v Royal Dutch Shell plc

15 February 2021

Monday 15 February 2021

We welcome this landmark Supreme Court decision that Shell can finally face justice in the UK after decades of oil spills from its Nigerian subsidiary devastated the environment and livelihoods of the Ogale and Bille communities. British companies can no longer evade responsibility for the impacts of their subsidiaries and supply chains on people and planet.

Around the world, many more communities in the Global South are facing devastation to their land, water and forests, alongside the effects of climate change – driven by multinational companies profiting from extracting fossil fuels and minerals from poorer countries.

It’s clear that we need new legislation to clarify the responsibility of UK companies to protect the communities and the environment that they take so much from – and to enable communities to get justice for the abuse they suffer.

The Government must also immediately end UK public money for fossil fuels industries overseas – in line with its recent policy commitment. It’s unacceptable that UK aid money continues to support oil and gas companies in Nigeria and other countries around the world.

Notes to Editors 

  • The Supreme Court judgment allows the case taken by nearly 50,000 Nigerian claimants to proceed in the UK courts, reversing earlier decisions by the Court of Appeal and the High Court, and reaffirming the precedent established in its own previous decision in Lungowe et al v Vedanta Resources plc (2019).

  • Leigh Day represents the plaintiffs and the background to the case can be found here:

  • The UK’s development finance institution, CDC, are making investments through Globeleq in companies with portfolios and/or intentions to expand fossil fuel power in Nigeria.