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The High Court has today handed down judgment in Vilca & Ors v Xstrata Limited and Compania Minera Antapaccay SA.

The Claimants, 22 Peruvian citizens, sought damages from the Defendants for alleged personal injury and unlawful detention at the hands of the Peruvian National Police, during the course of a violent protest at the Second Defendant’s mine in Peru in 2012.  The Court has dismissed the claims on the grounds that they are time-barred under Peruvian law.  

 Proceedings were issued in England in 2013.  Initially, the Claimants only advanced claims under English law.  In 2015, and subsequently, the Claimants amended their pleadings to add claims in Peruvian law.  These amendments were made after the applicable two-year Peruvian law limitation period had expired.  In 2017, the Defendants were granted permission to amend their pleadings to plead a limitation defence in respect of the claims under Peruvian law.  At that point, the Claimants abandoned their claims under English law.  In October 2017, the Court ordered a preliminary trial at which all expert evidence on Peruvian law would be heard and following which the Court would give judgment on limitation.   

 The Court, accepting the submissions of the Defendants, has held that the Claimants’ claims were brought after the expiry of the applicable limitation period and that the Defendants had not waived their right to rely on a limitation defence under Peruvian law. The judgment contains insights into how an applicable foreign law of limitation ought to be identified and applied, taking account of domestic procedural rules. 

Click here for the full judgment.

 Shaheed Fatima QC, Hanif Mussa and Isabel Buchanan acted for the Defendants, instructed by Greg Reid and Susana Cao Miranda at Linklaters LLP.