Our client was a joint operator of a major gas processing facility in Algeria that was subject to a coordinated and heavily armed terror attack.
32 terrorists attacked the facility from multiple entry points resulting in a four day siege and 40 fatalities as well as other serious injuries amongst the 800 people and 130 foreign workers onsite. As a result of seven of the fatalities being British citizens, our client, and its two facility co-operators, were subject to a high-profile public inquest in the U.K. that lasted for three months.
In the immediate aftermath, we advised the client on the legal implications of the post-attack investigation report, integrating with the in-house team and external security experts. We also assisted with communication strategy on public release of the report.
For the inquest itself, we provided full legal representation across a range of complex issues, which involved a number of specialist and contentious areas such as decision making around the use of armed guards, local military support, seniority of employees deployed and training and procedures in place in the event of an attack.
The Coroner's inquest concluded favourably for our client with focus instead placed on one of the other companies operating the facility. In particular, the Coroner’s findings were in line with company's internal investigation report and, having reviewed the improvements that have been made at the site, the Coroner concluded that it was not necessary for him to make any recommendations to prevent deaths in future given the systems and procedures that we had demonstrated were in place. The Coroner proactively commented that our client's investigation report demonstrated how an effective, timely and constructive inquiry can be held by a commercial organisation which was a very positive outcome for the client in the difficult circumstances of an inquest of this nature.