Recent changes in the law and the newly introduced Consumer Rights Act 2015, now allows British courts to hear US-style class actions, where one or a group of people sue on behalf of a much larger group.
Previously, when groups wanted to take action against companies it was very difficult. Those affected had to “opt in” or bring their own claim. This meant legal costs were very high, so few people would bring claims.
Under the new law, every member of an affected group will automatically become a member of the group which is suing, so called “opt out” actions.
This change will make it far easier for groups of people to seek compensation from firms, and consumer groups have said it is a big step forward in helping to secure compensation.
Group litigation or multi-party claims are already found in the personal injury field. A claim for compensation is made by a group of people who have suffered the same or similar injuries due to the negligence of the same defendant. For example, a sudden accident where a lot of people are injured or where a significant number of people have been injured by a defective product. Recent incidents have been the Smiler rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers, and the problems caused by faulty silicone breast implants.
It is thought these recent changes in the law will mean strength in numbers and give our clients more power against big businesses, especially in consumer claims where the claims are related to defective goods or services resulting in personal injury or financial loss.
If you have suffered an injury either as an individual or as part of a group, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0161 904 4660 and speak to our specialist teams.