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Cancer - Namibia

In the first case of its type in the UK against a multinational parent company, Leigh Day acted for a former miner at the Rossing Uranium Mine in Namibia.

The claimant contracted throat cancer and alleged that it had been caused by excessive dust exposure on the mine. He sued the UK parent company, Rio Tinto plc, which argued that Namibia was the more appropriate venue for the case.  The claimant argued that whereas in England Leigh Day were willing to act for him on a legal aid or no win no fee basis, it would be impossible for him to obtain legal assistance or funding for a case of such complexity in Namibia.  

This legal dispute over venue was heard twice by the Court of Appeal before finally reaching the House of Lords in 1997. In a landmark judgment, the Law Lords ruled that justice required that the case should remain in the English courts even though the Namibian courts were the natural venue.  

This legal principle was subsequently applied by the House of Lords in 2000 to secure English jurisdiction for the South African asbestos claimants suing Cape plc.  

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