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Exacting silicosis justice through the class action mechanism

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  • Tracy-Lynn Field

    (University of the Witwatersrand)

Abstract

In the landmark decision in Nkala & others v Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited & others 2016 (5) SA 240 (GJ), the South Gauteng High Court certified a class action suit instituted by representatives of tens of thousands of mineworkers against the South African gold mining industry, with the intent of claiming damages arising from the occupational diseases of silicosis and tuberculosis. This article contextualizes the Nkala case against the use of the class action mechanism as a tool for social policy change and the promotion of access to justice. It provides an overview of the parties, design, and key legal findings of the Nkala decision and, in particular, elaborates on how the Nkala bench framed the purpose of the class action suit and dealt with the prospect of entrepreneurial lawyering.

Suggested Citation

  • Tracy-Lynn Field, 2019. "Exacting silicosis justice through the class action mechanism," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 32(2), pages 213-221, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:minecn:v:32:y:2019:i:2:d:10.1007_s13563-019-00186-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s13563-019-00186-3
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    1. Tracy-Lynn Humby, 2016. "Redressing Mining Legacies: The Case of the South African Mining Industry," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 135(4), pages 653-664, June.
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