Daniel Leader > Leigh Day > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Leigh Day
27 Goswell Road
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Work Department

International department.


Dan Leader is a barrister and partner at Leigh Day with 20 years of litigation experience. He specialises in international human rights and environmental litigation with a particular focus on group actions on behalf of claimants from the developing world.  He has extensive experience of cases against parent companies, complex group actions and mass tort claims, as well as cross-border disputes and jurisdictional issues.   
His recent cases include:

  • Okpabi v Royal Dutch Shell plc [2021] UKSC 3 Claims on behalf of two Nigerian communities arising from systemic oil pollution by Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary.  The Supreme Court reaffirmed and expanded upon parent company liability principles previously set out in Vedanta.
  • Lungowe v Vedanta plc [2019] UKSC 20 (with Martyn Day and Oliver Holland).  Claims on behalf of 1,826 Zambian farmers arising out of damage to the environment caused by harmful discharges from the Konkola copper mine.  In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court set out the jurisdictional principles in cross-border claims against parent companies.  
  • Rihan v EY Global Ltd [2020] EWHC 901 (QB).  A successful international whistle-blowing claim on behalf of a former EY partner who refused to sanction a cover up of audit findings of money laundering and conflict minerals in the Dubai Gold trade.
  • AAA v. Unilever plc [2018] EWCA Civ 1532.  A case on behalf of 218 Kenyan tea workers who contend that Unilever failed to protect them from the foreseeable risk of ethnic violence in 2007. 
  • AAA v. Petra Diamonds [2021]. A parent company case on behalf of 97 Tanzanian clients arising out of serious human rights abuses on the Williamson Diamond Mine.
  • AAA v. Camellia plc [2021]. A parent company case on behalf of 85 Kenyan clients arising out of human rights abuses at the hands of security guards employed by Camellia’s Kenyan subsidiary, Kakuzi.      
  • AAA v. Gemfields Ltd [2019].  A claim by 300 individuals for personal injury arising out of serious human rights abuses on and around a ruby mine in northern Mozambique.
  • The Bodo Community v. Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd [2015] (with Martyn Day). A claim by a community of 30,000 Nigerians for compensation and remediation of their lands arising out of extensive oil spills in the Niger Delta which settled for £55m in 2015. 

Other cases include the “Mau Mau litigation” (Mutua v FCO [2013]) which resulted in reparations for 5,000 victims of colonial era torture and the Baha Mousa Inquiry [2010] into torture by the British Army in Iraq.  


Extensive professional experience in Africa and has lived and worked in Kenya and Congo (DRC).   In 2001 he was awarded the Bar Council’s Pro Bono Award for his work in Africa. 

Research Assistant to Gordon Brown MP 1995-97. Programme Officer International Human Rights Law Group, Democratic Republic of Congo 1999-2001. Barrister, 36 Bedford Row, London, Chambers of Vasanti Selvaratnam QC 2001-08.

Barrister and Partner, international department Leigh Day 2008 to date. External expert member of the UK Government Steering Board which oversees the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2014-17).  He is a member of the Steering Committee of the comparative law project on civil liability for human rights violations at the Bonavero Institute, Oxford University and a member of the Advisory Board of the British Institute for International and Comparative Law’s Human Rights Due Diligence Forum


Fluent French, spoken and written.


The Bar Human Rights Committee; Administrative Law Bar Association; International Bar Association; Liberty; British Institute for International and Comparative Law.


BA, Oxford University (First class), LLM in International Law, University College London (Distinction).

Called to the Bar 2001.

Lawyer Rankings

London > Real estate > Environment

(Leading individuals)

Daniel Leader – Leigh Day

The environmental team at Leigh Day exclusively focuses on representing claimants in matters ranging from multi-party actions, in jurisdictions where legal representation is difficult to come by, often arising from environmental damage; to UK and European public law challenges regarding climate change and human rights; to UK-based litigation in relation to breaches of environmental regulations, defending clients against such well-known corporations as Shell. Martyn Day specialises in international work.  Daniel Leader has a notable focus on complex, multi-party, cross-jurisdictional action work. Richard Meeran, who has particular experience handling disputes in South Africa, and planning specialist Jamie Beagent co-head the practice. Tessa Gregory is a litigator who stands out for her expertise in wildlife and habitat protection-related work in relation to the planning and development of infrastructure which threatens it, experienced associate solicitor Carol Day also has expertise in this area. Key associates in the team include Rowan Smith, who is adept at handling climate change work.

London > Public sector > Civil liberties and human rights

(Leading individuals)

Daniel Leader Leigh Day

Renowned for its considerable breadth of expertise across the spectrum of human rights issues, Leigh Day continues to represent a wide variety of individuals, NGOs and charities in ground-breaking cases. The practice has also established a stellar inquests reputation, handling a large number of Article 2 claims concerning deaths of children and young people. Jamie Beagent oversees a department which focuses primarily on the environment, and the detention and welfare of immigrants and asylum seekers. International and group litigation lead Richard Meeran is a pioneer regarding cases involving UK-domiciled multinationals, while Sapna Malik has a wide caseload of international claims. Daniel Leader’s practice focuses on business and human rights, founding member Sean Humber remains a key contact, and senior associate Andrew Lord continues to represent survivors of abuse in childhood.