|Briefly explain:||BP argued it had already made compensatory payments to the farmers and that, in any event, any lawsuit against BP should be in Colombia. Lawyers for the farmers countered that many had not received payments and those that had, had not received adequate payments. Many farmers claimed they were forced to sign agreements that they could not understand. Further, the plaintiffs argued it was necessary to bring proceedings in London because Colombian lawyers who had become involved in the case had been harassed and threatened.|
In June 2006 BP and the farmers met for mediation in Bogotá. On 22 July 2006 the parties announced that a settlement had been reached. The parties did not disclose the terms and amounts paid. However, in a joint statement they did announce that BP, without admitting liability, had agreed to establish an Environmental and Social Improvement Trust Fund for the benefit of the farmers, together with a programme of workshops dealing with environmental management and business development. According to press reports, the amount paid by BP was not thought to be as high as the £15 million originally claimed, but was believed to run to several million pounds.
In December 2008, Particulars of Claim were filed with the English High Court by a Colombian farmer living in the Zaragoza-Caceri region of Colombia claiming he suffered serious environmental damage to his land as a result of the construction of the OCENSA pipeline. This claimant is part of a group litigation (the group litigation order was issued on 24 September 2008), and his claims are representative of the claims of the group. This group of individuals was not part of the 2006 settlement with BP. This group litigation is on-going.