The firm leading a group litigation over the Volkswagen emissions scandal is set for its first court hearing to take forward the case.

London firm Harcus Sinclair has applied for a group litigation order on behalf of UK consumers and will have a hearing at the High Court on 30 January.

The firm is working alongside Australian-listed firm Slater and Gordon in claims against VW, Audi, SEAT and Skoda arising out of revelations that that motor giant VW fitted diesel cars with software that could manipulate the results of US emissions tests.

Harcus Sinclair, which has a whole website dedicated to the VW action, says this is the first group litigation order sought in relation to the emissions issue, although it has not disclosed how many of the UK’s estimated 1.2m affected motorists have made claims.

The firm says it expects the value of the compensation sought to be in the region of several thousand pounds per car.

Damon Parker, head of litigation at Harcus Sinclair, said: ‘It is only right that UK car owners affected by the scandal have the opportunity to seek compensation. We have secured funding so that those affected can bring this claim against VW at no cost to themselves.

‘The group action aims to ensure that, if VW is found to have misled consumers about the environmental damage caused by their cars, they are penalised accordingly so as to discourage this sort of behaviour from happening again.’

Harcus Sinclair will be the lead solicitor on the record at court and responsible for instructing counsel and preparing and filing of court documents, directing overall litigation strategy and reporting to claimants on the progress of the claim.

The claim will attempt to argue that the affected cars should not have been certified as fit for sale because it is alleged that they produced higher levels of NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions than the rules allowed.

It was reported in September 2015 that VW had set aside $6.5bn (£4.3bn) to handle the costs of the matter. The company has said it has fixed almost 200,000 of the 1,189,906 cars in the UK.

The company last month agreed to a $1bn (£810m) settlement to fix or buy 80,000 diesel vehicles sold in the US. It has also agreed to make contributions to a pollution reduction fund to make up for the excess emissions from its 2.0-litre diesel cars.

In October 2015, litigation funder Bentham Europe announced it would coordinate and back a shareholder action against Volkswagen.