Group litigation

VW NOx emissions group litigation – Scotland

We’re bringing a group action in Scotland on behalf of car owners who’ve been affected by the defeat device that VW installed in their vehicles. If you purchased your vehicle in Scotland and its one of the affected models you may be eligible to join the claim.

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VW NOx emissions group litigation – Scotland

Register your interest

What have the VW Group allegedly done?

In September 2015 it was revealed that the Volkswagen Group (including Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and Škoda) had manufactured and sold around 11 million vehicles worldwide, which were fitted with test cycle recognition software. 1.2 million of these vehicles were sold in the UK alone. The effect of this software was to reduce NOx emissions during testing.

When driven on the road, these vehicles produce higher levels of NOx than is permitted by law. NOx is a combination of Nitrogen Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide; both of which are pollutants associated with, amongst other things, acid rain and childhood asthma.

The Volkswagen Group promoted a ‘clean diesel’ image, which, in part, led to their vehicles commanding a premium price.

Volkswagen has repeatedly told customers that the vehicles are safe and roadworthy, and that their ‘type-approval’ remains valid. ‘Type-approval’ is a regulatory prerequisite for selling vehicles.

Before you can buy a car it must pass various tests designed to ensure its fit for use. These include things like crash-testing and road handling but also, crucially, emissions testing. These tests are the same throughout Europe.

The testing process relies heavily on the honesty of manufacturers: often the tests are carried out ‘in-house’ and only observed by independent inspectors. Over the past twenty years, the maximum permitted levels of various pollutants have been steadily reduced by a series of regulations known as the ‘Euro’ standard. Beginning at Euro 1, and ending with the current Euro 6. The Euro 5 standard (introduced in 2009) included a significantly lower limit for the production of NOx by diesel vehicles than previous iterations of the rules, and it’s these rules that Volkswagen breached.

Despite entering into settlements with vehicle owners in various jurisdictions including the US, Australia and Germany, Volkswagen has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing.

What is the claim about?

When we buy a car, we trust that the information provided to us by manufacturers is true. It’s clear to us (and to the industry experts that we’ve spoken to) that:

  • an EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) system does form part of a vehicles ‘emission control system’;
  • the vehicles were fitted with 'defeat devices' which allowed them to appear to pass emissions tests; and
  • the vehicles didn't (and don't) meet the regulatory requirements necessary to register and sell a car in the UK, because the levels of NOx emitted are considered to be dangerous to public health.

Slater and Gordon is leading the claim in England and Wales for a group of more than 90,000 affected vehicle owners. The English High Court has recently ruled that the software fitted in the vehicles was a ‘defeat device’, which is an important step in the case.

Scottish Parliament passed the Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Act 2018 in May 2018 enabling group litigations to be raised in Scotland for the first time. Although the Act was passed in 2018, the legislation is only planned to come into effect in August 2020. We’ll be raising a group action on behalf of affected car owners against VW as soon as the legislation is in place.

Why should I join the claim?

Information regarding Volkswagen’s cheat devices first became available in 2015 when the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States ordered a recall. There are strict time limits on bringing an emissions claim against VW and they must be raised within five years from the date Volkswagen’s alleged fraudulent conduct was discovered.

There are many reasons to join the claim, including:

  • Health: Taking legal action will disincentivise this type of corporate behaviour and help to ensure that companies don't put the public's health at risk.
  • Environment: NOx is a pollutant. It contributes to acid rain, global warming and respiratory conditions, such as childhood asthma. An increase in the level of emissions only serves to increase these dangers.
  • Financial: If you've an affected vehicle, the likelihood is that you overpaid for it and you may be entitled to financial compensation. In addition, the resale value of your vehicle may also be affected.
  • Simplicity: Joining the group legal action against Volkswagen is straightforward. Once you have provided your details, the necessary information about your car and have confirmed that you wish us to act for you, we'll proceed with the case on your behalf at no cost to you.
  • Accountability: A company found to have been dishonest to its customers should be held to account for their actions and be penalised. VW was a trusted brand and if it is found that management of VW knowingly fitted cars with cheat devices and they are made to compensate victims of the scandal, other companies will be discouraged from abusing the trust that the public have put in these companies.

Am I eligible to join the claim?

You may be eligible to take legal action if your car is manufactured by Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT or Škoda and is:

  • a 1.2, 1.6 or 2.0 litre diesel vehicle
  • made between 2008 and 2015, and
  • you purchased, leased or acquired your vehicle (new or second hand) before 1 January 2016 in Scotland

You can check your vehicle identification number (VIN) on the Manufactures website: Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Škoda.

You may also be eligible to make a claim if you purchased your vehicle in any of the following ways:

  • Outright cash purchase
  • Personal loan
  • Personal Contract Plan ('PCP')
  • Lease purchase
  • Hire purchase
  • Finance lease
  • Contract hire

How do I register my interest?

If you’d like to register your interest in pursuing a claim against Volkswagen, please click here to provide us with your details and we’ll keep you informed of our progress. If we consider there’s a valid claim to pursue we shall invite you to become a client of Slater and Gordon.

Time for Scotland to stand against VW | Emissions scandal

New legislation has been introduced which allows group actions in Scotland.

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