Update on your Vauxhall Claim


July 2023 Update

Update on the litigation

Recent hearings of the German Defendants’ application to challenge jurisdiction - Part 11 Applications

On 15 and 16 June 2023 the court heard an application (known as a Part 11 Application) made by the German Defendants (Opel Automobile GmbH and Adam Opel GmbH) challenging the jurisdiction of the Court.

The foreign Defendants argued that the jurisdiction of England and Wales was not the correct place to hear the claims for tens of thousands of Vauxhall owners who had bought their vehicles here.

The Defendants also sought, through procedural arguments, to limit the numbers of Vauxhall owners who should be allowed to bring their claims for the effects of those defeat devices, by arguing that those claims were time-barred.

We think that the German Defendants’ arguments lack merit and have put in a strong defence to these applications. We are awaiting a decision from the Judge that heard the hearing – we do not presently know when this judgment will be published.

Preparation for the GLO hearing

One significant stage for the proceedings in this group action is to make an application for a Group Litigation Order (GLO).

The GLO is part of a process designed to allow access to justice for large numbers of people. The GLO application was made on 9 February 2023 and a copy was served on the Defendants on 15 February 2023.

The GLO is applicable to all claimants from a number of different law firms bringing this claim against the Defendants. The Court has indicated that it will consider next steps with the GLO once it has determined the Part 11 Applications.

Steps we have been taking to identify additional defendants and review documents

Recently, we have identified additional Defendants who sold Vauxhall vehicles during the relevant time period that the defeat devices were installed.  We have identified these Defendants from the documents that the clients have supplied. This shows how helpful and necessary it is for clients to provide documents.

Finalising and serving our final claim form

In parallel to the above, we are working hard to finalise the details of the clients that will be included in our sixth and final Claim Form so that we can serve this on the Defendants by mid July 2023.

Client information to be provided

The GLO application makes proposals for setting up a Group Register and for Statements of Claimant Information (SoCI) to be provided, as well as the timetable at which both will progress.

The information that will be required includes information such as when, where and how the vehicles were acquired.

The application for a GLO will be determined at a hearing, which we are hoping will occur later this summer, however this cannot proceed until the outstanding Part 11 applications have been determined.

The Group Register serves as a central repository of information about the Claimants involved in the group litigation. It typically includes details such as the names of the Claimants, their contact information, the nature of their claims, and any other relevant details that may be required for the management of the case.

This is especially important where several law firms are representing many thousands of Claimants and any amendments of client details can be administered centrally without needing to trouble the court with multiple applications to make minor administrative changes.

The SoCI outlines the nature of each claimant’s individual claim, including the legal basis of their claim, the alleged harm or loss suffered, and any other pertinent details that may be necessary for the case.

The exact nature of the details to be included are normally agreed between the parties.

April 2023 Update

We are conscious we have not yet been in contact this year. We just wanted to let you know that there is a lot of work continuing with your claim, as well as wider activity on the diesel emission cases more generally. Please read below for more information on:

  1. The Group Litigation Order;
  2. The filings for your Vauxhall claim;
  3. Additional filings made to the court;
  4. Other diesel emission claims and what that means to you; and
  5. Next steps for your claim.

1. The Group Litigation Order

The next stage of the case will be a hearing to determine whether a Group Litigation Order (GLO) will be granted by the court. The GLO is part of a process designed to allow access to justice for large numbers of people.

After filing a GLO application in February, we are currently due to attend a hearing in the High Court. We expect this to be scheduled for October this year.

In the GLO hearing, the court will seek to make a number of decisions on how and when the next steps of the process will occur, such as:

a) The timetable at which the litigation will proceed;

b) The requirements at each stage of the litigation; and

c) What kinds of data will need to be shared between the parties to determine the claims effectively.

Since group litigation claims such as this one are complex, there are many steps involved. As you can imagine, without established processes in place, this could quickly become complicated. Consequently, we believe a GLO is the best way to bring this claim for you in order to stand the highest chance of success.

We will be able to provide you with an update on the GLO application once we are closer to the hearing date in October.

2. Your Vauxhall Claim Filings

In our previous update, we informed you that we had served four Claim Forms against the Defendants on behalf of 17,000 individual claims in total. Since then, we have issued and served our fifth Claim Form. Last month, we issued a further Claim Form for more clients, which is due to be served in the summer. This increases our total number of issued claims to over 21,000.

We continue to put pressure on the Defendants through both the volume of claims and our legal arguments setting out how and why the Defendants are liable to compensate you.

3. Additional filings made to the court

As part of our investigatory work for the claims and from analysing responses to your vehicle ownership information, we identified a comprehensive list of dealerships which sold affected Vauxhall diesels to consumers. From there, we produced schedules of authorised dealerships which were included in claim filings against the Defendants i.e. Vauxhall.

However, the Defendants responded recently to provide greater clarity on which dealerships were authorised by Vauxhall. Our Client Committee then convened earlier this month (April 2023) to provide the consent needed to issue notices to the court so the claim filings can be amended.

Moreover, we were only able to complete this thanks to your responses about how you acquired your vehicle. This proves it is vital to ensure you always respond to our requests for information, so we can bring the strongest claims possible on your behalf.

4. Other Diesel Emission Claims

In 2022, the VW Group reached a £193m Settlement in its group litigation. You may have also seen in the press that in the Mercedes litigation there was a High Court hearing in February this year regarding the Group Litigation Order on that case.

While the developments on these two cases do not have a direct bearing on your claim against Vauxhall, our team view the trend across all emission cases to be that the courts are finding in favour of the claimants (the vehicle owners), not only in our jurisdiction of England and Wales, but worldwide.

As you can see, there are lots of similar diesel emission claims against many manufacturers, all at differing stages of the legal process. Although the VW Group and Mercedes claims are further ahead in the process than the Vauxhall claim, we believe these cases will set important precedents that will help us get adequate redress for your claim too.

5. Next steps for your claim

We will be in contact again when we need you to provide any further details.