We succeed at first Volkswagen hearing!
"Your Lawyers Limited - that's us - have a successful day at the High Court."
We began proceedings in the High Court just over 12 months ago, when we issued the first set of dieselgate cases in the High Court against Volkswagen and its group of companies.
Since then, tens of thousands of affected owners have come forward, and we currently represent thousands upon thousands of clients and we are taking on new clients every day.
30 January 2017 Hearing
On 30 January 2017, the High Court considered an application for a Group Litigation Order (GLO). A GLO is an order of the court, which permits a number of claims which give rise to common or related issues (of fact or law) to be managed collectively.
Before the hearing, we made submissions to the High Court that although the dieselgate cases are in principle suitable for management by way of a GLO, that the application made was flawed in a significant number of respects and that it had been made prematurely.
We also informed the Court that we were very well placed to take on the role of Lead Solicitors, and to take a leading role in the conduct of this litigation. We expected a little encounter with Harcus Sinclair, the firm that made the application and another couple of law firms but on the day of the hearing, there was a consensus that the application should not proceed. The High Court agreed and the application was adjourned until October 2017.
The premature application not accepted by High Court
It is our view and the view of other Claimant lawyers that the application was premature. The application in our view appeared to have been formulated without adequate cooperation and consultation with interested parties in the litigation (both other Claimant firms and the Defendants). We had over the past year begun the process of seeking to meet with all Claimant firms in the litigation to formulate a common approach to the contemplated group litigation and we are continuing these efforts now.
Car Emissions Lawyers working with lawyers around the world
We cannot stress this enough: taking on the biggest carmaker and the 11th biggest company in the world requires clear cooperation between UK lawyers and lawyers in Europe - and around the world - to ensure that every victim who wants to claim gets fair access to justice.
Now that we have helped put a halt to the premature application, we continue our own action as planned. We have issued warnings in the past about the need to choose the right lawyers to bring your claim. The action we are bringing is of critical importance. It will lay bare how our society is to punish one of the biggest corporations in the world for its epic deception which has caused both untold damage to the environment and injury to health. The scandal is both about Volkswagen deceiving its customers and the incidental and intentional contamination of our atmosphere which has not only caused immeasurable damage to the environment but has likely caused premature deaths. The damages for compensation should, in our view, not only compensate Volkswagen customers for this deception but should also be to punish Volkswagen for its abhorrent behaviour.
The corporate response by Volkswagen over here has been disturbing, and is in stark contrast to how it treats its customers in the USA. In the States, Volkswagen did not drag out the battle; but instead almost immediately set aside $16 billion, and then moved quickly to settle those claims. The approach over here, throughout Europe and indeed, the rest of the world, has been less than conciliatory. This approach may have worked had it not been for us bringing the action as when we did, to the best of our knowledge, no one else had really taken the action forward and it has only really been recently that a glut of other firms are now showing more than just a passing interest in being involved in the group action.
There is little doubt that Volkswagen, prior to the scandal, had a fantastic reputation as a carmaker. Their vehicles were known for their reliability, performance, fantastic residuals and rather ironically their green credentials. How much of this was down to deception is only now becoming apparent.
Now that Volkswagen will be well aware that we are not going away, they would be wiser to adopt the forward-looking, conciliatory and ultimately socially responsible approach that they adopted in the States. This will save them money in the long-term and will go some way to rebuilding the bridges that they are currently burning with their customers. If Volkswagen would prefer to fight its customers, rather than focussing on re-establishing trust in the once impregnable Volkswagen brand, then the message from our Lawyers is that we are not going away.
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