In November 2007 I posted an article about Biowatch being told by the courts to pay Monsanto’s court costs, even though Biowatch won their case. This disturing ruling has prevented me from sleeping easily all this time. Biowatch were refused leave to appeal, so they went to the constitutional court and finally some sense prevailed and I can sleep easier again.
The judge understood the negative impact it would have on public interest lawsuits, so he ordered the government to pay the costs as it was the fault of the department of agriculture that Biowatch had to go to court in the first place.
On another happy note, an even more important precedent was set in the UK when Shell settled out of court with the representatives of the Ogoni people in Nigeria and the families of those executed in Nigeria after their peaceful protests against the pollution of their lands by Shell (the violent protests only started years later). Shell paid a record settlement of around £15m. Hopefully this will send a message to corporates that they can no longer operate with impunity.
There is hope.