UK Supreme Court Clarifies the Bounds of Continuing Nuisance in Oil Spill Case

June 1, 2023

On 10 May 2023, the UK Supreme Court handed down its decision in Jalla v Shell.

The issue before the Court was whether the effects of a December 2011 oil spill off the coast of Nigeria constituted a continuing private nuisance under English tort law. This issue was addressed as a preliminary matter pre-trial, and was important because it determined whether or not the claim was brought within the limitation period.

Jalla is just one of many cases in recent years seeking to use private law against private actors such as fossil fuel companies, and is part of a recent increase in the use of environmental litigation as a tool to hold companies (and governments) to account, and increase ambitions towards reaching Net Zero.

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This alert memo was republished by Law360, click here to read the article (subscription may be required.)