On December 18, a Dutch appeals court ruled that Royal Dutch Shell can be held liable for oil spills in Nigeria by its subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC). Shell was ordered by judges in The Hague to provide the court with documents that clarify details about the oil spill, particularly its causes and whether those in charge were aware of them. This decision overturned a finding by a lower Dutch court in 2013 that Shell’s parent company could not be held liable for oil pollution by its Nigerian subsidiary. The legal dispute started in 2008 when a group of Nigerian farmers and Friends of the Earth filed a suit against Shell. SPDC responded to the recent decision by stating that, “we believe allegations concerning Nigerian plaintiffs in dispute with a Nigerian company, over issues which took place within Nigeria, should be heard in Nigeria.” In the past, Shell’s parent companies blamed sabotage for oil leaks in Nigeria, which under Nigerian law absolves the company from liability to pay compensation. The court stated that it is too early to determine whether or not the leaks were caused by sabotage. In 2008, Shell paid $82 million in compensation for two oil spills in Nigeria in a settlement with the affected community. For the full story, see http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/dec/18/dutch-appeals-court-shell-oil-spills-nigeria