In November 2015, the Fundão dam at the Samarco mine in Brazil collapsed and over 40 million cubic metres of iron ore mine tailings were released into the Doce river, with catastrophic consequences.

In this context, in late 2018, the largest group claim in English history was commenced against BHP in the English courts on behalf of over 200,000 claimants, against the backdrop of proceedings in Brazil and Australia.

The High Court has struck out the claims as an abuse of process, finding in the alternative that the claims would have been stayed on jurisdictional grounds in any event.

The decision is a significant development in the wider context of claims brought against UK listed companies in connection with the conduct of foreign subsidiaries/JVs in the English courts.

An appeal has been foreshadowed.