In a special five-part series People & Power charts the rapidly growing number of lawsuits being brought against multi-national corporations. War crimes, conspiracy, corruption and payments to terrorists are just some of the serious charges that have forced some of the world's largest companies to hire high-profile defence lawyers to defend their name in cases often brought by plaintiffs who are barely literate. Corporations on Trial reveals a growing anxiety about the power and influence of big business.
Today many multinational corporations have annual revenues greater than some countries' national budgets; governments are increasingly held to ransom by their economic power.
Around the world, ordinary people are asking how many more times their interests should be sacrificed for corporate greed and shareholder profit.
Asking how, in other words, can the world's multinationals be kept in check.
About "Dumping Grounds":
It is the largest class action in British history. Brought by the human rights lawyer, Martyn Day, on behalf of 30,000 Ivorians against the world’s third largest independent oil trader Trafigura.
The suit alleges that the company neglected its duty of care when disposing of a tonnes of toxic - material that was illicitly dumped on Abidjan’s streets with appalling consequences.
Juliana Ruhfus investigates the origins and reaction of the case.