Oil giant BP's attempts to limit claims over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill have been given a boost after a US appeals court halted some payments.
A federal appeals court has asked a lower district court to take a fresh look at which claims are legitimate. The higher court said that if businesses that did not suffer losses from the spill were compensated, the whole settlement could be invalid.
BP said it was "extremely pleased" with the ruling, which justified its fears.
The oil giant, which had agreed to pay compensation for the disaster, argued that the terms of existing settlement meant that people and businesses were being paid huge sums for false claims.
The appeals court has now ordered Judge Barbier at the lower district court to review the wording of the deal in order to draw up a narrower set of definitions that will exclude unfair claims.