We are delighted to be in a position to provide an update as regards the advancing of our group action against the Volkswagen.
Over these last six months we have engaged in extensive and detailed work in and about the preparation of the Northern Ireland action.
More recently we had an extremely productive meeting in London with the firm of solicitors who are leading the group action in England and Wales. That particular case was listed before the High Court in London on 27th March, for the hearing of an application for a Group Litigation Order. This is an application where the Court is asked to make an Order that allows the case proceed as a group action. In Northern Ireland the order is referred to as a Group Action Order. In cases where there is large number of claimants, it is preferable to have the matter designated as a group action, as this allows for the easier management of the case, from a costs and administrative perspective. Recent media coverage of recent developments can be accessed through the below link:
We have also been in regular contact with our Australian counterparts who are much further advanced than most of other jurisdictions in terms of progressing litigation against Volkswagen. After a number of weeks of evidence being heard in the Federal Court in Sydney, a significant breakthrough was recently made, when Volkswagen finally conceded that its cars would not have passed Australia’s emissions testing standards had they not been fitted with a cheat device. A follow up press release (below) from the law firm, Maurice Blackburn, makes for interesting reading.
Moving back to Northern Ireland, our plans remain unchanged. We will now serve court proceedings, which we previously issued in the High Court in Belfast on VW. We will then immediately apply for a Group Action Order, with the request that proceedings are then stayed so as to allow the case in London to proceed. The facts between our Action and the London Acton are identical. It would seem sensible to avoid duplicating costs and work by running the two actions concurrently. We are confident our High Court will see the merits in what we are suggesting.
We recently sent a detailed letter of claim to the headquarters of Volkswagen in the UK. In this letter we set out particulars of our claim and in doing so we advised how we intend proceeding. In response to our letter of claim, a Belfast based Law Firm has noted our correspondence and indicated that they will respond substantively in due course.
The global actions are now beginning to take shape. We will continue to liaise with a colleagues from other juriscicitons as we remain steadfast in our view that a united approach from all those who have been affected is the best way forward.