By John Donovan
Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills was formerly a senior Royal Dutch Shell executive.
It has recently come to light that Shell successfully lobbied his department to intervene on Shell’s behalf in a case being heard by the US Supreme Court: Kiobel-v-Shell.
The UK Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has just released its decision in regard to a complaint:
- This complaint relates to a request which sought information on the UK government’s decision to submit two “amicus” briefs in the case Kiobel v Shell (‘Kiobel’). (An amicus brief is a document filed in a court by a party who is not directly related to the case under consideration). Kiobel was a case before the Supreme Court of the United States brought under the US Alien Torts Statute 1789 (‘ATS’). The ATS allows foreign victims of human rights abuses to seek civil remedies in US courts.
- The Kiobel case was brought against Shell by Nigerian citizens who alleged that the company had aided and abetted the Nigerian authorities in the torture and extrajudicial killing of unarmed protesters in the 1990s.
In view of the claims made by Shell over its influence with the minister, the question arises of whether Mr Cable recused himself from any involvement in these matters, including the lobbying and the release of information as investigated by the ICO?