This is the fourth Ecuadorian court to uphold the environmental liability judgment against Chevron, the third layer of appeal. All Ecuadorian affirmances have been unanimous.
The jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court (CC) allowed Chevron to challenge any aspect of the proceedings in Ecuador for lack of due process, use of improperly obtained evidence, etc. None of Chevron’s challenges were sustained.
The decision elaborates a strong human rights-perspective on the underlying questions about the fairness of the judgment and its magnitude. I hope to describe this in more depth shortly.
The decision was emitted well into the term of office of President Lenin Moreno, who is aggressively seeking to curry favor with the United States, so any sort of claim that the CC decision was politically influenced to Chevron’s detriment is a non-starter.
The decision is now the most current analysis of the environmental judgment and the controversies surrounding it, made by the court with the broadest jurisdiction to consider it and the challenges to it. Again, the judgment was sustained in full and unanimously.
TORONTO, Oct. 10 /CSRwire/ – Peter Grant, the renowned Canadian aboriginal rights lawyer who recently helped to win a major case before the country’s Supreme Court, is joining the legal team of indigenous groups in Ecuador who are moving to enforce a $12 billion environmental judgment against Chevron in Canadian courts.
“I am honored to represent indigenous persons who have been harmed by the highly irresponsible oil activities of Chevron in the Amazon rainforest of the Ecuador,” said Grant, who just returned from a tour of the affected area of the South American nation with Canadian indigenous leaders Phil Fontaine and Ed John and Greenpeace Co-Founder Rex Weyler.
(See here for a CBC story on the Ecuador visit by Grant and here for comments from Fontaine and Ed John backing collection of the Ecuador judgment.)
“We are going to urge all courts in Canada to reject Chevron’s obstructionist tactics and move this case to a final resolution as soon as possible,” said Grant, who works out of Vancouver. “Twenty-four years of litigation is simply too long for any case, particularly one involving vulnerable First Nations groups who are suffering from cancers and other dramatic health impacts from oil contamination.”
Grant will make his first appearance on the matter today in the Ontario Court of Appeal where argument is scheduled for an 11th hour effort by Chevron’s lawyers to impose a $1 million costs order on the impoverished indigenous groups. The underlying environmental claims originally were filed in 1993, but Chevron has used at least 60 law firms and 2,000 lawyers to retaliate against the indigenous groups and to obstruct justice and delay the process both in Ecuador and other countries, said Aaron Marr Page, the longtime U.S. lawyer for the affected communities.
Forum Nobis provides superior legal counsel to individual, organizational, and community-based clients on a variety of complex international law, human rights, and environmental matters.
Although Forum Nobis is a public interest law firm, in any given matter the firm maintains a relentless focus on the interests and objectives of its client, not other funders, social movements, or the “larger” interests of the issues involved. Larger issues, principles, themes, and questions of strategy matter to the extent they matter to the client. Forum Nobis provides a degree of loyalty, fierce advocacy, and intimate legal advice typically associated with the best of the private legal bar.
At the same time, Forum Nobis’s expertise with larger public interest law developments allows it to provide a quality of representation unmatched by the private bar. New developments in the fields of international law, human rights, and environmental justice can provide powerful forces to lift individual cases, if properly understood and utilized. Forum Nobis’ distinctive voice and ethical stature in these fields empowers the advocacy it can bring to bear for each client. Continue reading →