The boss of a tea firm being sued by 2,000 Kenyan farm employees has argued a Scottish court docket wouldn’t perceive cultural points that have an effect on the case.
James Finlay Kenya Ltd (JFK) is combating a damages declare on the Courtroom of Session in Edinburgh.
The tea pickers say they suffered musculoskeletal accidents due to working circumstances.
However the agency’s managing director stated they might have harm their backs whereas carrying water as youngsters.
JFK additionally argues the claims needs to be handled in Kenya, and never Scotland.
It has its registered deal with in Aberdeen.
Recognized within the Scottish authorized system as group proceedings, the category motion lawsuit was given permission to go forward final January.
On the firm’s request, Courtroom of Session choose Lord Weir is now deciding whether or not it ought to proceed any additional.
On the primary day of proceedings, JFK’s managing director Simeon Hutchinson gave proof in particular person having flown to Edinburgh from Kenya.
In a press release submitted to the court docket, he argued that the Scottish court docket “wouldn’t perceive the tradition in Kenya.”
He steered that among the claimants had been prone to have suffered musculoskeletal accidents whereas carrying water once they had been youngsters.
Mr Hutchinson stated the court docket wouldn’t pay attention to how this “cultural distinction” would influence on the damages claims.
The tea pickers’ legal professionals say the Scottish court docket offers them the most effective probability of “securing justice.”
The agency is arguing the employees’ claims might be handled by Kenya’s Work Accidents Profit Act (WIBA).
Mr Hutchinson informed the court docket: “Earlier than WIBA, when ambulance chasing was rife in Kenya, legal professionals had an incentive to search for harm instances as a result of they might make some huge cash.
“As soon as WIBA was introduced into regulation, these practises have been dropped at an finish.”
‘No JFK in Scotland’
JFK is a part of a multi-national operation which might hint its roots again to 1750 when it was based by a Glasgow textile service provider.
A key problem on the listening to is jurisdiction, and whether or not the Scottish court docket is probably the most applicable discussion board for the claims.
Mr Hutchinson stated the corporate has no connection in any respect to Scotland aside from its “historic registered deal with”.
He stated the employees concerned within the case “are employed by the department of the Scottish firm that is primarily based in Kenya.”
The tea pickers’ counsel Andrew Smith KC put it to him: “JFK in Scotland employs folks in Kenya.”
Mr Hutchinson replied: “There isn’t a JFK in Scotland.”
In a press release to the BBC, the corporate stated: “The security and welfare of everybody related with our enterprise is all the time our primary precedence.
“James Finlay Kenya’s enterprise operates solely in Kenya and we imagine that the correct place to handle allegations introduced by Kenyan residents relating to their employment in Kenya is within the Kenyan courts.”
Final month a BBC undercover investigation uncovered sexual exploitation of women employed by JFK in Kenya.
The corporate has dismissed two of its managers.