The legal battle between lawyers representing more than 50,000 Volkswagen diesel cars owners in the UK and the German firm in question began on Tuesday, in London’s High Court, reportedly.
The initial 3-day hearing will reportedly just determine whether or not the claims can all be collectively managed, or whether lawsuits would have to be split. Also, the hearing will set a deadline for claimants to sign up for the lawsuit(s).
If approval is given for Group Litigation Order (GLO), then the lawsuit could easily end up being the largest class/group action lawsuit in the history of the UK. This is due to the fact that Volkswagen sold around 1.2 million diesel cars in the UK that were outfitted with software meant to game emissions tests, and thus allow much higher than advertised real-world emissions levels.
As those reading this probably recall, Volkswagen has not been forced to provide compensation to affected owners in Europe as it has been in the US.
Reuters provides more:
“Law firm Slater and Gordon, which says it represents more than 40,000 claimants in Britain, alleges VW deceived people into buying cars that breached emissions regulations by installing ‘defeat devices,’ engine management software designed to mask pollution levels.
“The German company dismissed the allegations and said it intended to defend itself robustly. It said it had broken no English laws, that British drivers had suffered no loss and that the legal proceedings were premature and unfounded…Slater and Gordon, one of at least three law firms acting for affected VW, Audi, SEAT, and Skoda drivers in England and Wales, alleged that the software fix had led to mechanical problems.”
The law firm in question has apparently surveyed more than 11,600 affected diesel car owners and found that fuel efficiency and performance has been affected by the “fix” and that the cars had now sometimes “juddered.”
Volkswagen has responded to the news by denying that any wrongdoing occurred, deflecting responsibility, and seemingly smearing those involved in the survey. Ah, modern ethics. The firm is also reportedly “confident” of a “successful” outcome to any lawsuits.
Notably, if the case isn’t settled then it may be several years before the trial begins.