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High Court Paves Way for Diesel Emissions Scandal Claims

High Court Paves Way for Diesel Emissions Scandal Claims


Court allows progress in major car emissions scandal

The High Court's recent decision regarding legal claims against leading car manufacturers - notably Mercedes and two others - marks a significant step forward in addressing the diesel emissions scandal. With over 1.2 million vehicle owners involved, this ruling sets the stage for what could potentially become a groundbreaking trial by February 2025.

Amidst concerns over the complexity and overlap of legal issues in the massive group claims, the High Court conducted a decisive one-day hearing on 8 December. This aimed to streamline the management of claims, reduce costs, and optimize court resources.

Presided over by Dame Victoria Sharp, the hearing concluded that Mercedes will lead the Group Litigation Order (GLO) process, accompanied by two additional lead GLOs related to separate emissions cases. The aim is to efficiently resolve common legal and factual matters, streamlining the litigation process for other involved manufacturers.

To further streamline proceedings, a three-day consolidated hearing is scheduled for 17-19 January 2024. This will address all existing and potential GLO applications related to the claims. Lawyers representing the vehicle owners emphasized that designating Mercedes as the lead claimant could expedite the resolution of shared legal and factual issues across other emissions cases.

Additionally, the court directed parties to collaborate in agreeing on terms for sharing confidential information across the various claims before the January 2024 hearings. Disputes regarding confidentiality will be addressed in a Case Management Conference on 19 January 2024.

Martyn Day, senior partner at Leigh Day, expressed satisfaction with the High Court's decision to propel the emission claims forward without undue delay. He highlighted the manufacturers' apparent aim to stall proceedings and expressed hope that resolving these claims may occur within the next few years.

The emissions claims involve a wide array of vehicle manufacturing groups, including Mercedes, Volkswagen, Ford, BMW, and others. Several law firms representing the claimants, including Leigh Day and Pogust Goodhead, jointly presented at the hearing, collectively representing over 1.2 million affected individuals.