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After over 2.5 years of trial the Kenya Emergency Group Litigation (“KEGL”) has finally concluded. All claims against the UK Government (the Foreign & Commonwealth Office) have now been dismissed. Simon P G Murray of 1 Chancery Lane, [A member of the Attorney General’s A Panel of counsel] acted as one of the counsel for the Foreign Office.
On 21 November 2018 Stewart J gave judgment in the second of 25 test cases. The judge declined to exercise his discretion under section 33 Limitation Act 1980 to extend time in the claimant’s favour. He dismissed that test claimant’s claim and then all of the rest of the remaining test cases. By reason of the Group Litigation Order in the case, the dismissal of these cases binds all c. 40,000 claimants on the Group Register whose claims were therefore determined against them.
The High Court’s order therefore brings an end to KEGL.
The case had concerned allegations of abuse during the Mau Mau insurgency between 1952 to 1960.
Some metrics about this massive litigation: Over the course of a trial spanning 232 hearing days (reportedly one of the longest civil trials ever held in England), the judge heard oral evidence from more than 60 witnesses. The electronic trial bundle by the end ran to some 180,000 pages. The disclosure had consisted of over 40,000 documents. By the end Stewart J had handed down some 16 reserved judgments on significant issues including the two most recent test case rulings.
It may well be that the success of the UK Government in KEGL will bring an end these types of very old overseas claims. As was noted on the website of the lead Claimants’ solicitors firm: “The legal team representing the claimants was acting under a Conditional Fee Agreement, a so–called “no win, no fee” arrangement. As the case has been lost, the lawyers representing the claimants have received no payment for their work over the past six years.”