LONDON, 2nd JUNE 2023. In a huge boost to the hopes of millions of UK consumers who stand to gain from a Woodsford-funded collective action against five large shipping companies who engaged in an anticompetitive cartel, the UK Supreme Court announced yesterday that it had refused to allow a further appeal against certification of the collective action to proceed.
In 2018, the European Commission (EC) fined the international shipping companies a total of EUR 395 million for their participation in a cartel between 18 October 2006 and 6 September 2012.
The EC found that the companies fixed prices, rigged bids and allocated the market for roll-on, roll-off (“RoRo”) transport of vehicles into Europe. According to the EC, the companies had agreed to maintain the status quo in the market and to respect each other’s ongoing business on certain routes, or with certain customers, by quoting artificially high prices or not quoting at all in tenders for vehicle manufacturers.
The claim, which seeks compensation significantly in excess of £100 million, is one of the first to be heard in the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), which ruled earlier in 2022 that a collective proceedings order (CPO) could be launched on behalf of U.K. consumers and businesses that allegedly paid inflated prices due to the actions of the cartel.
Affected cars include passenger cars and light commercial vehicles such as vans, which represent over 80% of all new car and van purchases in the UK. Examples of affected cars include Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, Peugeot, BMW, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota, Citroën and Renault.
The CAT action was filed on behalf of the class by consumer rights champion, Mark McLaren. Financed by Woodsford, McLaren is represented by Sarah Ford KC, Emma Mockford and Sarah O’Keeffe of Brick Court Chambers, instructed by Scott + Scott UK.
Woodsford’s Chief Executive Officer, Steven Friel commented:
“This is an important milestone for this case specifically, and also for promotion of collective redress in the UK more generally. Woodsford is dedicated to holding corporate wrongdoers to account and helping deliver access to justice. We are proud to support Mr. McLaren, who is now much closer to obtaining compensation for the millions of affected car purchasers.”
Hugh Tait, the Senior Investment Officer leading the case for Woodsford, commented:
“This is a great success for consumer redress in the UK, and I am proud of Woodsford’s significant part in it. Woodsford is now clearly established as the most successful ESG and litigation finance business in this area of UK collective redress. My only regret is that big corporate defendants continue to use their significant legal and financial resource to fight technical arguments, with the goal of delaying compensation payments to consumers. “
Impacted customers can find further information about the case at https://www.cardeliverycharges.com/
A detailed case study can be found here.
You can read the full press release here.