The VW Emissions Group Litigation - Further details of the updates
1. Our clients’ application for a Group Litigation Order was successful
At the end of March we appeared before Senior Master Fontaine at the High Court Queen’s Bench Division for our Group Litigation Order (GLO) application. The hearing took place over three days and concluded on 29th March 2018. You were all very ably represented by your barristers, Oliver Campbell QC, Alexander Hutton QC and Adam Heppinstall.
We are pleased to report that the Senior Master has indicated that she will recommend to the President of the Queen’s Bench that the GLO is made for the VW Emissions Group Litigation.
This is set to be the largest consumer Group Action the country has seen and is a huge milestone for the progression of your claim against VW. Obtaining a GLO means that your claims will now progress through the courts together, and that in time, test cases will be selected so that the court does not have to determine the thousands of claims individually.
There has been some press interest in our claim, some of which I have linked to below.
2. Slater and Gordon appointed as a Lead Lawyer
The Senior Master will be recommending that Slater and Gordon and another law firm called Leigh Day are appointed as joint Lead Solicitors. As a Lead Solicitor, we have the responsibility for establishing and maintaining the Group Register. The conduct of the litigation will be co-ordinated by the law firms on the Steering Committee, which include Slater and Gordon, Leigh Day and Your Lawyers.
3. Generic Particulars of Claim
The Generic Particulars of Claim (GPOC) is a document which fully sets out our claim against VW, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, VW Financial Services and the Authorised Dealerships. You will have previously seen a draft version of this, but we would encourage you to view the version as filed in court, which you can do by logging into your VW Emissions Portal account and viewing it in the ‘Documents’ tab.
We now have to wait until 6 July for VW’s Defence (that is, VW, Audi, SEAT, Skoda and VWFS) and 17 August for the Authorised Dealerships’ Defence. It is only at this point that we will know for sure the basis on which they say they are not liable to you for their actions.
4. GLO ‘Window’
The Court has agreed that we have until the end of October to publicise our claim so that new claimants can join us. In the coming weeks and months you will no doubt see our claim being advertised in the press and on-line. The best advertising is, of course, word of mouth, so if you know of anyone who owns or previously owned a VW, Audi, SEAT or Skoda, please do make them aware of our claim.
5. Group Register
Before you can progress your claim, certain procedural things need to be done by us. I have set this out below for your information:
- Your name needs to go on to a Claim Form which needs to be filed at court and served on VW.
- Your details (name and address), the claims you are bringing, the defendants you are suing and your VIN number, amongst other things, need to be entered on to the Group Register.
- You will need to complete a Schedule of Information which sets out in more detail certain issues about your claim.
- The Group Register and the Schedules of Information need to be filed at court and served on VW.
Work is underway to establish the Group Register.
Should we need more information from you in relation to the Schedules of Information, we shall contact you specifically in relation to that.
Client Committee Vacancies
You will know that we have a Client Committee in place to whom you have delegated your authority to make decisions on your behalves and to whom we advise, report to and take instructions from.
Currently the Committee is made up of four clients but we are now looking for more volunteers to join the Committee.
If you would like to volunteer to become a committee member, please email email@example.com
In order to be considered, you will need to be able to dedicate on average between five and ten hours per month to the claim, sometimes responding at short notice, and be available to participate in meetings / telephone conferences with us on the third Monday of the month, typically at around 4pm. You will also need to be available to attend (whether by phone or in person) with conferences with counsel and experts when required.
For these reasons, we would expect that ideal candidates will have flexible working practices, or will not have any work commitments that may prevent them from being able to participate in the claim on an active basis.
The role in unpaid, but reasonable expenses are reimbursable. There is no requirement to have any background knowledge in the law or motor industry as everything will be explained to you before instructions on certain issues are sought.
Applications are particularly welcome from women, as there are none on the committee at present, and from SEAT and Skoda owners, although these are by no means requisite for the role.
If you would be interested in becoming a committee member, please do get in touch with us and we can discuss this further with you.