The mammoth group litigation against Volkswagen sprang to life again today, with a pre-trial review hearing taking place in the Rolls Building, London’s commercial court.

The VW claim, one of the largest group actions yet, is being brought by around 95,000 British drivers who had software fitted to their diesel cars which allegedly cheated EU emissions tests. The claimants, represented by solicitors’ firms Slater and Gordon, Leigh Day and Your Lawyers, say this software constituted a ‘defeat device’. VW denies this.

The hearing today is to deal with procedural steps leading up to a preliminary issues hearing starting on 2 December 2019 to determine whether VW’s software met the legal definition of ‘defeat device’. 

Before Mr Justice Waksman, the two parties discussed what will be dealt with in the December hearing, touching on expert evidence and amended cost budgets. Waksman J noted the ‘vast potential sums’ involved in the case. He referred to the fact that Freshfields, acting for VW, could spend £100m on disclosure.

The legal claim is being brought under a Group Litigation Order and is being funded by Therium Capital Management. The full hearing is not expected to take place until 2021.