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BHP suffer humiliating defeat in bid to stop justice for victims of Brazilian mining disaster

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BHP suffer humiliating defeat in bid to stop justice for victims of Brazilian mining disaster

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BHP, the world’s largest mining company, faced a significant setback in the English high court

In a major legal blow, BHP, the global mining giant, has been unsuccessful in its attempt to block claims from 33,000 victims of the devastating Mariana dam disaster in Brazil. The English High Court ruled against BHP's bid to strike out the claims brought by the victims, dismissing the company’s arguments that the law firm representing them lacked authority.

The court's decision, which affirmed that Pogust Goodhead has the legal authority to represent all claimants, paves the way for the claims to proceed to trial scheduled for October 2024. The case is of substantial value, amounting to £36 billion, and BHP's failure to strike out the claims means it could potentially face liability amounting to £1.8 billion.

This ruling marks a significant setback for BHP, reflecting the failure of its legal strategies aimed at reducing the magnitude of the claims and delaying justice. The company's attempts to challenge the legitimacy of Pogust Goodhead and the claimants’ litigation funders have been resoundingly rejected by the court.

Tom Goodhead, CEO and Global Managing Partner of Pogust Goodhead, expressed satisfaction with the court's decision, condemning BHP's tactics as desperate and harmful to the victims. He emphasised the ongoing suffering of over 720,000 individuals affected by the disaster, highlighting their continued struggle for justice and compensation nearly a decade after the tragic event.

"The trial ahead will hold BHP accountable for its role in this disaster," Goodhead stated. "The delays caused by BHP’s tactics not only prolong the suffering of the victims but also incur significant financial losses and damage the company’s reputation."

The outcome underscores the enduring legal battle faced by BHP and its co-defendant Vale as they confront the aftermath of one of the world's worst environmental disasters. As the trial date approaches, the spotlight remains on BHP’s responsibility and the imperative for justice for the victims of the Mariana dam tragedy.

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