By JOHN SAKALA
The United Kingdom Supreme Court has today handed down its decision in the jurisdictional matter argued before it in January 2019.
Vedanta Resources Limited (Vedanta) and Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) had appealed the English Court of Appeal’s judgment released on October 13, 2017 that claims by Zambian residents against Vedanta and KCM related to KCM’s operations in Zambia could be adjudicated by the English courts.
The UK Supreme Court has dismissed these appeals and held that the English court has jurisdiction to try these claims.
The Supreme Court did, however, agree with Vedanta and KCM that England is not the proper place for the trial of these claims and overturned the lower courts on this point.
The UK Supreme Court found that whether or not an appellate court might reach a different conclusion upon a review of the same evidence, the High Court was entitled to conclude on the evidence before it that there is a real risk that “substantial justice” will not be obtainable in Zambia, and because of this, the claims may nonetheless be heard in the English court.
The judgment of the UK Supreme Court is a procedural one and relates only to the jurisdiction of the English court to hear these claims. It is not a judgment on the merits of the claims. Vedanta and KCM will defend themselves against any such claims at the appropriate time.
This is according to media statement by General Manager Corporate Affairs Eugene Chungu.
This is in the matter in which KCM operations had affected some farmers near Mushishima stream.