National firm Weightmans, as well barrister sets Matrix Chambers and Kings Chambers, say they have set up one of the largest claims in UK legal history – an ‘opt-out’ class action dispute over alleged anti-competitive behaviour by European truck manufacturers.
Claimant UK Trucks Claim (UKTC) has issued proceedings at the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) concerning 600,000 trucks sold over a 14-year period. A case management conference is expected in the autumn. Calunius Capital is funding the claim.
UKTC is one of two claimants to have sought a group action in this field. Another claim, on behalf of the Road Haulage Association, was filed at the CAT at the end of last month. Backhouse Jones and Addleshaw Goddard, are acting on that claim with the action being funded by Therium Capital.
A separate claim, handled by Collyer Bristow and funded by Vannin Capital was set up last year.
The claims all stem from a fine handed down by the European Commission in 2016 after truck manufacturers MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler/Mercedes, Iveco and DAF had been found to have operated a cartel stretching back to 1997. The companies are expected to be defendants in the CAT claim.
Details of the funding arrangements have not been revealed.
The UKTC is asking the CAT to grant UKTC’s application for an ‘opt-out’ order – meaning claimants could be entitled to compensation without signing up.
Only in competition claims do consumers in the UK qualify for without having to apply. That measure was introduced under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Last week, law firm Slater and Gordon, which is working on the VW group action case in the High Court called for that provision to be extended to all group action cases.
Matthew Amey, director at insurance and litigation funding broker TheJudge, said litigation funding is becoming an integral part of the competition litigation landscape.
He added: ‘Without a solid proposal to potential claimants to remove the cash flow burden (through a litigation funder) and financial risk (through a litigation insurer), unwitting victims are unlikely to bring a claim on their own. The question for victims of the trucks cartel is which claimant group is offering the best deal for them, a question which will generally boil down to the underpinning litigation funding arrangement.’