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Litigating in the Ivory Coast: A toxic shock

In Agouman v Leigh Day [2016] EWHC 1324 (QB), the High Court determined that solicitors breached their duty to clients in group litigation in the Ivory Coast to protect the settlement fund from fraudulent claims.

12 July 2016

The group personal injury action against Trafigura, involving some 30,000 claimants, arose from the discharge of toxic waste from a tanker in 2006. Identifying and communicating effectively with the claimant group required establishing
an expansive network of local 'community representatives', some of whom exploited claimants by levying unwarranted charges.
One, Mr Gohourou, had been identified as a particular concern. The solicitors were responsible for the safe receipt and distribution of the £30m settlement. It was known that, as a consequence of government corruption (in which Gohourou had also been implicated), very little from an earlier Trafigura settlement with the government had reached the rightful claimants. The new fund was now also beginning to draw government attention.

It was concluded that the
fund should be received into
an account in the Ivory Coast. Follow...

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