Andres Fernando Bravo and others v Amerisur Resources PLC
A group of campesinos (small scale farmers) from the Putumayo region of southern Colombia secured an interim freezing injunction for over £3 million late last week against Amerisur Resources PLC, an AIM-listed company that is about to be acquired by the Bermuda-incorporated GeoPark group and converted into a private company. The farmers’ claim arises out of alleged contamination of local waterways and wetlands emanating from Amerisur’s oil drilling operations and transportation of its crude oil. The claimants had relied on local stream water for drinking, cooking, bathing and fishing, but say that release of oily wastes and residues left the waters unsafe, causing illness and killing fish, crops and livestock.
Mrs Justice Karen Steyn granted the injunction at an on notice hearing, holding that the claimants had demonstrated a good arguable case (based on evidence of Colombian law) and a sufficient risk that the planned takeover would result in Amerisur being stripped of assets and unable to satisfy a judgment, should the claimants ultimately succeed on the claim.
Simon C. Milnes, led by Richard Lord QC and instructed by Leigh Day, represented the claimants.