On Wednesday, an Appeals court in London delivered a setback ruling to some Nigerians seeking justice in the UK over oil company, Shell Petroleum Development Commission.

The court ruled that two Nigerian communities cannot pursue Royal Dutch Shell in English courts over oil spills in Niger Delta region.

This is essentially telling them to come back to Nigeria and seek justice.

The split decision upheld a High Court ruling last year that was a setback to attempts to hold British multinationals liable at home for their subsidiaries’ actions abroad.

The court rejected the appeal from law firm Leigh Day on behalf of Nigeria’s Bille and Ogale communities and upheld a ruling that English courts do not have jurisdiction over claims against Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary SPDC.

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SPDC is jointly operated with the Nigerian government.

Shell said the court “rightly upheld” the earlier ruling and said Nigeria’s “well-developed justice system” is the correct place for the claims.

It's subsidiary SPDC has also denied responsibility for the spills, which it says were due to sabotage and illegal refining.

The case is significant in determining whether multinational companies can face legal action in England over their subsidiaries’ actions abroad.

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