Court of Appeal gives guidance on the scope of the jurisdiction to re-open refusals of permission to appeal

29 July, 2021

The Court of Appeal (the Master of the Rolls, the Vice President and Carr LJ) has overturned a refusal of permission to appeal in Municipio de Mariana & others v. BHP Group PLC and BHP Group Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 1156, on the ground that the single Lord Justice dealing with the application on paper failed to grapple with the Claimant’s essential challenges to the Judge’s judgment so that there was “no doubt” that the integrity of the process had been undermined.  In doing so, it referred to the “exceptional importance” of the case whilst also underlining the narrow scope of the jurisdiction to re-open final determinations by the Court of Appeal.

Permission to appeal was also granted on all grounds against the first instance decision by Turner J which struck out the claims of 200,000 claimants against BHP arising from the collapse of the Fundão Dam because he considered that the claims were “irredeemably unmanageable” and therefore an abuse of process.  The Court of Appeal considered that the issues raised by BHP’s strike-out application and therefore of the appeal are “of wide general importance”.

The judgment is here.

Graham Dunning QC and Hugh Mercer QC act for the Claimants with Marc Willers QC of Garden Court Chambers and Nicholas Harrison, Jon McDonagh and Russell Hopkins of Serle Court Chambers instructed by Tom Goodhead and Céline Barnwell of PGMBM.