Limitation and continuing nuisance

In Jalla v. Shell International Trading and Shipping Co [2021] EWCA Civ 63, the Court of Appeal considered the issue of alleged continuing nuisance in the context of limitation.  There had been a spill of oil from a pipeline lasting a few hours. The oil had washed up on the Nigerian coast over the ensuing weeks.  In order to avoid their claim being barred by limitation, the claimants argued that the nuisance was continuing each day the oil remained on their land. The Court of Appeal held this was not a continuing nuisance – there was a single cause of action when the oil leaked into the sea, the damage occurring when the oil fist hit the claimants’ land.  It was an isolated and one-off event. There was no authority for treating it as continuing nuisance, which would give rise to indefinite liability and render the Limitation Act ineffective.

In another decision in the same litigation, the Court of Appeal considered the approach to “representative” actions under CPR 19.6 in respect of a number of claimants and communities affected by a spill.


Text reference 14-60


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