The Shell Nigeria Judgments by the Court of Appeal of the Hague, a Breakthrough in the Field of International Environmental Damage? UK Law and Dutch Law on Parental Liability Compared

Steef M. Bartman*, Cornelis De Groot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


On 29 January 2021, the Court of Appeal of The Hague rendered three judgments in cases brought by Nigerian citizens who had suffered damage as a result of leaks from oil pipelines. The proceedings stand out because they are being conducted in the Netherlands, not only against Shell Nigeria, but also against the former UK and Dutch parent companies of the Shell group, as well as against the current group holding company Royal Dutch Shell Plc. The Court of Appeal, in line with the Vedanta judgment of the UK Supreme Court; makes an extensive analysis of the structure of the Shell group and, based thereon, derives (albeit limited) a duty of care for the parent company Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDS) vis-a-vis the claimants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Company Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • corporate social responsibility
  • international environmental damage
  • piercing the corporate veil
  • EEX Regulation (recast)
  • Brussels I-bis Regulation
  • Rome II Regulation

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