VW emissions claimants head to High Court

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Thousands of car owners are set to head to High Court today as they bid to win compensation from Volkswagen (VW) over the diesel emissions scandal that rocked the manufacturer in 2015.

Law firm Slater and Gordon, which represents the largest group of claimants of more than 40,000 VW, Audi Seat and Skoda owners, is pursuing the action to seek compensation for past and present owners of affected vehicles, alleging misrepresentation of the affected cars’ environmental benefits.

VW admitted in 2015 that defective devices that cheated pollution tests had been fitted to 11 million cars worldwide, including 1.2 million in the UK. The German car company has paid significant fines in other jurisdictions.

Slater and Gordon, as well as Your Lawyers and Leigh Day, whose clients bring the group action to more than 50,000 claimants, is acting for claimants on a no win, no fee basis. Together, the law firms are seeking an application for a group litigation order (GLO) in High Court.

Gareth Pope, a specialist group litigation lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: “It has been over two years since the scandal was exposed and UK consumers have waited in vain for Volkswagen to respond to their complaints fairly.”

Leigh Day said it is focused on bringing claims under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, claiming a refund of up to 50% of the value of their car or finance repayments made on or after 1 October 2014.

According to the firm, today’s hearing, which will last for three days, will discuss VW’s desire for every claimant to provide extensive additional information about the details of their individual claim.

Leigh Day, Slater and Gordon and Your Lawyers oppose providing this additional information because it would be expensive to gather and, in any event, is unnecessary until the High Court has determined the generic issues in the claim.

If the GLO is made at the hearing, VW will then have 12 weeks to provide its defence to the claim. There will then also be a seven-month window for people to join the claim and enter the details on the group register.

VW said in a statement that the instigation of UK legal proceedings “was both premature and unfounded”, adding: “There is no legal basis for customer claims in connection with the diesel matter.”

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk