Eleven law firms have enough claimants so far to form part of the group action over the Volkswagen emissions scandal, the senior Queen’s Bench master has decided.
Master Fontaine named Slater & Gordon and Leigh Day as the lead solicitors of what is now officially known as the VW NOx Emissions Group Litigation, with Chesterfield firm Your Lawyers joining the pair on the steering committee.
The other firms forming the solicitors’ group in the action are: Curtis Law, R James Hutcheon, Attwood Solicitors, Burd Ward, Jefferies Solicitors, Michael Lewin Solicitors, Simon Burn Solicitors, and E Rex Makin & Co.
Other firms may be added to the group if they have been instructed by 20 or more claimants.
At the time of the hearing earlier this month at which the group litigation order was made, there were 7,000 claimants. The cut-off date for joining the action is 26 October.
The action is against Volkswagen, Audi, ŠKODA, SEAT, Volkswagen Group United Kingdom Ltd, Volkswagen Financial Services Ltd and authorised dealerships by individuals or businesses who owned or leased vehicles with EA189 engines which were owned or obtained on finance or leased by a claimant on or before 1 January 2016.
The order said the liability of each claimant for costs, and each party’s entitlement to recover costs, would be several and not joint.
“Unless ordered otherwise, each claimant’s share of the common costs shall be calculated by reference to the number of vehicles in respect of which the claimant claims; so that (for example) if there were a total of 100 vehicles in respect of which claims were being made, a claimant claiming in respect of one vehicle would be severally liable for one one-hundredth of the common costs (both the claimant’s common costs and any liability for the defendants’ common costs), and a claimant claiming in respect of two vehicles would accordingly be liable for two one-hundredths of such common costs.”
There will be an initial case management conference on the first open date after 20 November, with a time estimate of two days.
Aman Johal of Your Lawyers said: “The group litigation order against Volkswagen over Dieselgate is now live and drivers must seize the opportunity to sign up.
“Your Lawyers is proud to be on the steering committee and to lead the class action against the automotive giant.
“Owners of 1.2million vehicles in the UK can claim for the human, environmental and financial impact of Volkswagen’s installation of their illegal defeat devices. Volkswagen must be held to account for its reprehensible actions.”
Last year, London firm Harcus Sinclair was forced to withdraw from the action it was helping to co-ordinate because of a breach of a non-disclosure agreement it signed before the case began.
The High Court ruled that the firm had agreed with Your Lawyers not to work for any claimants in the litigation other than those represented by Your Lawyers after it approached Harcus Sinclair to help with running its group in April 2016.