An appeals court has ruled that Dutch judges have jurisdiction in a case between a group of Nigerian farmers and oil multinational Shell over pollution of their land and water they blame on leaking oil pipes.

Friday's appeals decision means the case will proceed, likely next year.

The Hague Appeals Court also ordered Shell to give the farmers and environmental activists supporting their case access to documents that could shed more light on the case.

Four Nigerian farmers are alleging that Shell and its Nigerian unit are liable for damages caused by leaks from two underground oil pipes. Shell argues that it has no liability in the case.