The High Court will hear an application for a Group Litigation Order as part of three-days of proceedings to decide the deadline for dieselgate emissions claims against Volkswagen in England and Wales.
Consumer action lawyer Aman Johal, a solicitor acting for over 10,000 claimants, will tomorrow (March 27) seek to be appointed a lead solicitor in the pending class action that law firm Your Lawyers claims is “set to be the biggest consumer class action in England and Wales in history”.
More than 14 months ago AM reported that Harcus Sinclair were poised to bring the action forward on behalf of Volkswagen owners, but Your Lawyers Limited succeeded, in the High Court of Justice, in removing the rival firm from the proposed class action in January.
The High Court ordered the removal of Harcus Sinclair from the litigation until April 2022, Judge Edwin Johnson QC criticising delays that had been to the detriment of the consumer action against VW.
Subject to court approval the outcome of tomorrow’s hearing is likely to determine that the deadline for claims for anyone who has bought or leased a diesel vehicle manufactured by the VW Group (VW, Audi, Seat or Skoda) between 2009 and 2015 will be set for November this year.
A statement issued by Your Lawyers stated that the installation of the defeat devices by Volkswagen to cheat the European emissions testing regime had led to over two million Britons buying cars which were polluting more NOx than expected.
Nearly 1.2 million Volkswagen diesel vehicles are affected in the UK, it said, which constitutes as more than one-in-10 vehicles on UK roads.
Johal, director of Your Lawyers, said of the upcoming court date: “It is time that victims of Volkswagen’s emissions scandal achieve justice and that their voices are heard.
“Millions of people have been subject to harmful emissions, and consumers have lost money as a result of the scandal.
“We are working hard to seek damages for claimants in the UK who are yet to receive anything, unlike their US counterparts, where Volkswagen agreed a $25 billion settlement with owners, regulators, states and dealers.
“Once we have an agreed deadline, we urge claimants to stand up and put forward their cases to finally get the recognition and compensation they deserve.”
A spokeswoman for Volkswagen Group in the UK said: "The hearing was originally scheduled by claimants for January 2017 and was ultimately adjourned for over a year due to a lack of proper coordination and a serious legal dispute between Your Lawyers and Harcus Sinclair, who were then acting on the matter."
The spokeswoman said that Volkswagen intends to "defend these claims robustly" and are "confident of a successful outcome", before claiming that “inaccurate" messaging had been provided via the media "in an attempt to encourage people into signing up to their court case in order to try to make the litigation more economically viable for the financial funders running the case".
She added: "It has not been established that the relevant software is an illegal defeat device. We have made it clear that we do not anticipate that our UK customers have suffered any loss or financial detriment as a result of the NOx issue. In particular, we note that an adverse financial impact on the residual value of affected vehicles as a result of the NOx issue has not been identified."
“We have implemented the technical measures in over 840,000 vehicles in the UK and in over 6.4 million vehicles across Europe, and the overwhelming majority of customers with these vehicles are satisfied.”
Volkswagen owners affected by the dieselgate scandal in the US have already been guaranteed a share of a £15billion settlement, with 500,000 owners set to benefit from the scheme.
A further £940m in compensation will be handed to US Volkswagen dealers, with 652 dealers in the part of the group’s £12.8 billion diesel emissions settlement.
Volkswagen’s US dealers will receive an average of £1.4m under the settlement first announced in principle in August, 2016.
But no compensation had been offered in relation to the dieselgate scandal in Europe, Volkswagen agreeing only to “fix” affected models.