CORE and ICJ to intervene in UK Supreme Court case

Marilyn Croser, Director of CORE

CORE and the ICJ have been granted permission to intervene in an appeal before the United Kingdom Supreme Court (Vedanta Resources PLC and another v. Lungowe and others).

The two organizations’ submissions provide evidence on comparative law and international standards regarding the responsibilities of companies in relation to human rights and environmental protection, in particular the recognition of a duty of care of parent companies in relation to the communities living in the surrounding of companies operations.

In August 2015, 1800 Zambian villagers launched a legal action in the UK against mining company Vedanta Resources Plc and its Zambian subsidiary, Konkola Copper Mines, claiming that their water sources and farming land were poisoned from the copper mining operations of both companies.

Last year, the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court ruling that the Zambian claimants had a legal right to bring a claim through the courts in the UK and that a parent company may owe a duty of care to third parties affected by its subsidiary. Vedanta is appealing this ruling in the Supreme Court.

CORE and the ICJ have been lead participants in the elaboration processes of all major international instruments in the field of businesses’ human rights responsibilities in the last decade and are also specially situated to provide information on the state of the law in various jurisdictions.

Our submission is that the Court of Appeal’s conclusion that Vedanta arguably owed a duty of care to the claimants is supported by: international standards regarding the responsibilities of companies in relation to human rights and environmental protection; material published by the UK government with the aim of implementing those international standards; and comparative law jurisprudence.

The hearing will take place on 15-16 January 2019.

Read more blogs on parent company liability cases >>