Claimants in a mammoth truck cartel dispute have been given the green light on funding in an important ruling for third-party funders. The Competition Appeal Tribunal ruled that the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and UK Trucks Claims can pursue claims against six of the world’s largest truck manufacturers through litigation funding.
The case stems from a €2.9bn fine handed down by the European Commission in 2016 after truck manufacturers MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler/Mercedes, Iveco and DAF were found to have operated a cartel stretching back to 1997. Over 11,000 truck operators are now involved in the litigation.
In the latest development, the truck manufacturers argued that the applicants’ litigation funding agreements constituted damages-based agreements (DBA) and were therefore unenforceable and unlawful.
However, the tribunal found that the litigation funding agreements did not count as DBAs. It also found that the funding arrangements entered into by the RHA do not provide a ground for refusing to authorise it as a class representative.
Litigation funding is being provided by Therium Litigation Funding and Calunius Capital. The ruling in favour of the applicants now brings the case closer to a substantive hearing.
Steven Meyerhoff, director at transport specialist Backhouse Jones, which is acting for the RHA, said: ‘The tribunal’s judgment is a significant ruling for the third-party funding industry… as it confirms that third-party funding agreements do not fall to be assessed under the Damages Based Agreements Regulations 2010.
‘Third-party funders can now fund claims without fear of this point bringing an end to the third-party funding industry.’