40,000 Group Litigation Claims Dismissed by High Court Judge

In past editions of BC Disease News, we have reported on the Kenya group litigation, otherwise known as the Mau Mau case.

This litigation regarded claims brought against the Foreign Office by Kenyan nationals, who were allegedly subjected to torture and rape by British soldiers and members of the Colonial Administration in Kenya, in the 1950’s. All but 1 of the 25 test claimants gave evidence and were cross-examined at trial.

In edition 232 (here), we reported that ‘fear by itself’, in the claimants’ pleadings, could not be described as an ‘actionable injury’.[i] In any event, Mr Justice Stewart ruled that the claimants would not have been granted discretion, under s.33 of the Limitation Act 1980.

Then, in editions 242 (here) and 251 (here), we provided case analysis of s.33 discretion in 2 further Mau Mau test cases, conducted by Stewart J.[ii] [iii]

Following on from these decisions, we now report that Stewart J, at the High Court, has dismissed the entire group litigation action. He did so, this Wednesday, on the basis that the prejudice to the defendant outweighed the prejudice to the claimant. There could not be a fair trial.[iv]

The Mau Mau claimants entered into a conditional fee agreement (‘no win, no fee’) with their legal representatives. As a result, the acting claimant solicitors’ firm and instructed barristers will receive no payment for 6 years of work.


[i] Kimathi & Ors v The Foreign & Commonwealth Office [2018] EWHC 1305 (QB)

[ii] Kimathi & Ors v The Foreign & Commonwealth Office [2018] EWHC 2066 (QB)

[iii] Kimathi & Ors v The Foreign & Commonwealth Office [2018] EWCA Civ 2213

[iv] Neil Rose, ‘High Court pulls plug on CFA-backed Kenya group action’ (22 November 2018 Litigation Futures) <https://www.litigationfutures.com/news/high-court-pulls-plug-on-cfa-backed-kenya-group-action> accessed 22 November 2018.