Record-breaking civil hearing ends in relief for ReChem

On 16 June, the High Court delivered its judgment in the longest piece of environmental litigation in British legal history by throwing out a Scottish farming couple's claim that emissions from a hazardous waste incinerator operated by ReChem International had poisoned their dairy herd. The judgment is important in defining the legal principles which apply in pollution cases involving complex chains of causation and in setting out the courts' views of when damage becomes foreseeable. It has also underlined the difficulties facing litigants when industrial processes and the environment around them are poorly monitored.

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