Leigh Day has a longstanding history of working in Kenya. In 2001 Leigh Day represented over 220 Maasai who had been seriously injured or killed by unexploded bombs at the British Army’s practice ranges in central Kenya.
These claims were concluded in 2002 when a deal was reached with the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The MoD accepted limited liability for the injuries and deaths that occurred and agreed to pay the claimants £4.5m in compensation
This was followed in 2003 by a second action against the MoD. This claim was brought on behalf of hundreds of Kenyan tribeswomen who claimed that they had been raped by British Army soldiers
between 1972 and 2002. The claims did not proceed due to criminal investigations by the Kenyan Police which were never concluded.
In June 2009 Leigh Day issued the ‘Mau Mau claims’ against the British Government. The claims were brought on behalf of five elderly Kenyans who had been detained and tortured by the British colonial administration in Kenya during the Kenya Emergency (1952 – 1960). After issuing these claims, Leigh Day continued its investigations with the Kenya Human Rights Commission and identified over 5,000 further victims of colonial era torture in Kenya who subsequently became clients of the firm.
After a prolonged legal battle, the Mau Mau claims were finally concluded in 2013 when a settlement was reached with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. On 6 June 2013, then Foreign Secretary William Hague made a statement to the House of Commons expressing regret that thousands of Kenyans were detained and tortured by the British colonial administration in Kenya during the Kenya Emergency. He announced that the British Government would pay compensation to Leigh Day’s 5,228 clients, as well as gross costs, to the total value of £19.9 million, and finance the construction of a memorial in Kenya to the victims of colonial era torture. The memorial, located in Uhuru Park in Nairobi, was unveiled in September 2015
In addition to the firm’s legal work in Kenya, Leigh Day has been partnered with the HOME Trust, an educational charity working in a remote area of northern Kenya, since 2001. Thanks to the firm’s support there are now over 70 children receiving full educational sponsorship.