A vast group action claim on behalf of at least 55,000 UK car buyers against Volkswagen is set to reach its next stage with lead solicitors set to be appointed.
The Gazette understands that witness statements are required to be filed this month that will detail; the progress made on agreeing particulars of claim, a group litigation order setting out how the litigation will run, and a co-operation agreement outlining how the claimant firms plan to work with each other.
A three-day group litigation order hearing is due to take place from 27 March, when the High Court is understood to decide which firm will lead the claim.
Firms representing claimants include national firm Slater and Gordon and Chesterfield-based Your Lawyers. Slater and Gordon is representing 45,000 claimants while Your Lawyers is acting for more than 10,000.
Late last year, the Gazette reported that Your Lawyers had been in dispute with group action specialist firm Harcus Sinclair. That dispute culminated in Harcus Sinclair being ordered to stop representing claimants in the case after the High Court found it had breached a non-disclosure agreement with Your Lawyers.
The court ruled that, before the case began, Harcus Sinclair agreed with Your Lawyers not to represent claimants other than those Your Lawyers already represented. After the judgment Harcus Sinclair, which disputes Your Lawyers’ claims, confirmed it had pulled out of the case but that it intended to appeal.
The claim against VW, thought to be one of the largest group action cases, arose out of revelations that the motor giant fitted diesel cars with software that could manipulate the results of emissions tests.
Aman Johal, director of Your Lawyers said: ‘Over a million Volkswagen owners have been lied to and deserve compensation. We are now reaching a critical turning point in the UK to give innocent owners a means of achieving compensation. We urge any customers who own an affected Volkswagen diesel vehicle – or an Audi, Sea, Skoda or Porsche – to make a claim as soon as possible.’
Gareth Pope, senior group litigation lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said there was now a ‘clear timetable for bringing VW to justice’. He added: ‘This is an important step forward for vehicle owners who want to hold VW to account over the emissions scandal. The tens of thousands of VW owners who have already signed up – and those who continue to register to be part of the VW emissions action group every day – are determined to show VW that it isn’t above the law.’