NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – Lawyers representing 20,000 Mau Mau war veterans including liberation hero Dedan Kimathi’s widow are urging the British Government to expeditiously settle a reparations claim out of court.
Tandem Law which is representing the veterans, on Wednesday said that since most of their clients are at an advanced age, they might be better served by an out-of-court settlement as it was not necessarily the case that they would obtain higher compensation through the courts.
“In the UK, when you bring a claim, both the claimant and the defendant will often instruct joint experts. We would hope that as more information is coming out through the experts that we’re both instructing, the evidence will be so overwhelming that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will capitulate and say okay, let’s see how we can compensate these genuine claimants,” Tandem Law lead litigator Freddie Cosgrove-Gibson said at a press briefing in Nairobi.
That failing, Gibson said they were still willing to pursue the case to its logical conclusion having received provisional trial dates from the British High Court for between May 5, 2016 and November 7, 2016 “it being estimated that it would take six months to hear the case.”
And in preparation for which, Gibson continued to explain, they were currently focusing on 40 cases which would be narrowed down further as it was not possible to hear all the 21,000 individual claims.
“In group litigation it is unworkable for the court to hear and consider each individual claim. In this litigation, approximately 25 test cases will be tried that provide an accurate representation of the range and type of claims on the group register,” he explained.
The range and type of claims Tandem Law is pursuing are assault, detention, extreme torture and mutilation. One of their claimants having already passed away, they are also looking to pursue such claims in probate.
They are also looking to obtain different levels of compensation for the different types of claims even in negotiations with the FCO as would be the case with court ordered compensation.
“As far as I understand it, and I’m not privy to that, Leigh Day settled for one amount of money for all claimants irrespective of what happened to them,” Gibson said.
But even as they pursue this, Miller &Company Advocates – who act for Tandem Law in Kenya – reiterated that they are pursuing the case on a now win, no fee basis and veterans should not be taken in by unscrupulous individuals demanding payment on the back of their case.
“Various people have been going around collecting money from very vulnerable people and claiming that they’re collecting that money for purposes of this litigation. We have also made reports to the police on a number of those issues. One or two people have actually been charged and should anyone be going around asking for money, saying that it’s in relation to the Mau Mau litigation, that is not correct and anyone who has paid anyone should actually report the matter to the police,” lawyer Cecil Miller clarified.