CORE’s freedom of information requests on Shell court case: FCO & BIS scrape the bottom of the barrel for excuses

In February 2012, the UK government made an intervention in Kiobel -v- Shell, a US court case brought against Shell by a group of people from the Niger Delta. The case became notorious when Shell argued that corporations couldn’t be sued for violating international law. The UK government joined with the Dutch government to submit an amicus brief in support of Shell’s arguments. The US Supreme Court subsequently found in Shell’s favour, substantially limiting a route to justice for victims of corporate human rights abuses.
CORE has made a series of information requests to the FCO and BIS regarding the background to this intervention. What has this revealed? To date very little, as both departments have relied on multiple exemptions to avoid having to release the information. Undeterred, CORE complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office to have the exemptions overturned. We are currently awaiting a decision notice.

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