The Consumer Rights Act (the Act) came into force with great fanfare in October 2015. The Act permitted, for the first time, formal collective actions to be brought before an English court (the Competition Appeal Tribunal), heralding a new dawn for group litigation in England and Wales - or so people said. To date, that new dawn has been rather slow to break.
The Act has, however, reignited the debate about group litigation in the UK and its place, or not, in the English litigation landscape: how can we ensure the perceived excesses of the US system are avoided? Should group claims be opt-in or opt-out? How should such claims be funded?
Soon after the Act came into force, the VW emissions scandal broke, spawning what seem to be endless action groups representing shareholders, consumers and others bringing claims against VW both here and in other jurisdictions. This brought discussion about group claims once again to the fore, as if such claims are new or novel.
In fact, group litigation as a concept, whether by a group litigation order, representative action or some other means, is not new to the UK. There are firms in this jurisdiction who only act in group claims. It is also something litigation funders are very familiar with. Funding of group actions is happening with increasing regularity.
In circumstances where no individual claimant wants to bear the costs risks of bringing a stand-alone claim (the economics very often don’t make sense) or simply can’t, group litigation and the funding of them enables claimants, who would otherwise be unable to seek redress, to bring a claim. In short, third party funding provides an effective and risk-free way to bring a claim that would otherwise not get off the ground.
Saying that, it is important to note that before Vannin will fund a group action, we follow the same rigorous procedure that we always do to ensure the legitimacy of the underlying claims and the strength and merits of them. This is of vital importance to us in whatever the type or size of claim that is being funded.
For more information on Vannin Capital, please contact: Leanne Harker, Marketing at Vannin Capital, T: +44 (0)1624 615 111, E: email@example.com