Who would want to be involved in the largest case in English history?

Pogust GoodheadBy Tom Goodhead, Chief Executive Officer & Global Managing Partner at Legal Futures Associate Pogust Goodhead

I can confidently say that we are doing as ground-breaking and cutting edge work as any law firm in the world right now.

I was working for myself as an unknown, newly qualified barrister in Liverpool when I came across what is now the biggest case in English history in terms of number of claimants who have joined an action. At the time of course, I had no such inkling.

I had been visiting Brazil when a local lawyer told me about Brazil’s worst environmental disaster. In November 2015, in the region of Minas Gerais to the north of Rio de Janeiro, the large Mariana dam containing toxic waste suddenly collapsed and sent its lethal contents spewing into local regions. The villagers nearby barely stood a chance against the arsenic-contaminated flood. Their houses, livelihoods and entire way of life were destroyed within minutes. 19 people died and thousands more were injured or fell ill. The toxic plume continued to travel down the river, cause damage to many other towns and cities along its way to the coast. Eight years later the local people still say the river – their lifeblood – is contaminated.

Worse, a company based in London was involved in the Mariana dam disaster. BHP Billiton (now BHP), the world’s largest mining company, was at the time listed on the London Stock Exchange and partly-owned Samarco – the company that operated the Mariana dam. I believe that for too long, some Western multinationals have damaged the environment and communities in other parts of the world without full compensation.

We set out to change that. In 2018, Pogust Goodhead (then SPG Law) brought a claim against BHP on behalf of Brazilian clients in  a Liverpool court.

We were immediately rejected. The judge agreed with BHP and ruled that the English Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case. We appealed. In March 2021 that appeal on jurisdiction was rejected too. But we do not give up easily. In April 2021 we filed an application for permission to re-open the application for permission to appeal the jurisdiction judgment. In July 2021, Pogust Goodhead finally won an order granting permission to appeal, and a year later we won the appeal. The English Court will now be hearing the case in October 2024.

The Guardian called it “the largest group claim in English legal history”. Pogust Goodhead has now signed up 700,000 claimants against BHP, with damages estimated at £36 billion. This is the case we are recruiting for.

Not your average law firm 

Pogust Goodhead isn’t just your average City law firm. We are ambitious and dynamic. We don’t just appreciate the law – we want to use it to bring justice to people who would never otherwise get a hearing. From environmental litigation to health and pollution cases – we are breaking new ground and shaking up the industry.

And we just won the Boutique Litigation Firm of the Year award.

We are currently seeking twenty highly skilled and experienced Associates and Senior Associates to join our team on a permanent basis. Do you want to fight cases and causes that have the power to improve the lives of tens of millions of people?

Become a part of history 

These roles are for people who want to be part of something huge. Our case against BHP is not just about holding multinationals accountable for environmental damage – it is also about protecting human rights against far powerful corporate forces.

As I wrote in The Independent earlier this year, “We hope this case sends a clear message to large multinational companies that they cannot avoid responsibility for the consequences of their operations. They can and should be held to account when their activities have a negative impact on people’s lives elsewhere.”

If that does not sound enticing enough – we want talent from all over the UK, not just those able to live in London. Your exceptional legal acumen, strategic thinking, and meticulous attention to detail will be instrumental in developing and executing effective litigation strategies for our clients.

In addition, this role will require regular travel to that still beautiful country of Brazil and other parts of the world. There cannot possibly be a better icing on the cake. I can confidently say that Pogust Goodhead is doing as ground-breaking and cutting edge work as any law firm in the world right now.

Come and join us: https://workforjustice.co.uk/


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