According to new research by Thomson Reuters, the value of UK competition class-actions launched in 2022 surged to over £26bn. That’s up from £4bn in 2021. Competition claims arise when firms abuse competition law to the detriment of their customers and other businesses. The research identifies a number of multi-billion-pound claims against tech titans such as Apple, Google, and Sony. In total, the value of class action claims related to breaches of competition law has risen by more than six-fold in the past year, with eight UK class action claims launched in 2022, compared to six the previous year. Interestingly, this increase in class action competition claims is primarily down to abuses in the technology and digital sectors.
At Keller Postman UK, we have extensive experience in group action and multi-claimant cases. Working across a range of claim types, including data breach, emissions, workers’ rights, investment fraud and mis-selling, we have represented hundreds of thousands of workers and consumers, and we are used to standing up to large well-funded organisations.
We are currently pursuing actions against the likes of EasyJet, Equifax, Currys PC World/Dixons Travel, several major car manufactures and some of the UK’s leading supermarkets. Our Tesco claim alone has been valued in excess of £4bn. In 2022, we settled two large group actions on behalf of our clients, obtaining millions of pounds in compensation for our clients. We believe passionately in access to justice, so we welcome the rise in class action claims in the UK. Not least because, by bringing a claim together on a collective basis, the claimants strengthen their overall position. This can make big organisations take the matter seriously, and increase the chances of settlement or success in litigation.
The recent findings suggest that the UK is becoming the ‘destination of choice’ for mass actions in competition law. One key reason for this is said to be the precedent of ‘Merricks’, which gave the green light to a £14bn class-action against Mastercard, and now allows lawsuits to be brought on an opt-out basis. In addition, reports suggest that, while in the past litigation funders concentrated mainly on claims where liability had already been established by a European Commission case, claimants that are still to prove liability are now receiving funding, partly due to the high value of the claims. While this may be the case, the increase in class actions has primarily come about as the courts have developed the framework and mechanisms to allow these claims to be brought. These developments help consumers get access to justice.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Keller Postman UK Senior Associate Nathaniel Barber said:
“At Keller Postman UK, we welcome the growth in the value of UK group actions. While a long-established means of securing justice in the US, group litigation — and other forms of collective redress — have only recently taken off in the UK. It’s vital that the legal landscape ensures a level playing field and enhances access to justice for groups of claimants who have been harmed by wrongful conduct. That England is becoming the destination of choice for such claims is a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, there is work to do and the procedural and practical framework still has to catch up”.
In 2021, Keller Postman UK became a forming member of CORLA (Collective Redress Lawyers Association), which aims to safeguard and enhance access to justice for groups of claimants who have been harmed by wrongful conduct. It does this by promoting and pushing for reforms to ensure the UK offers the very highest standard of collective redress. Nate Barber is CORLA’s Membership Secretary, while Legal Director Eleanor Leedham is CORLA’s Marketing Officer.