Top Questions

Who can bring a claim?

You can join the action if you purchased or owned an affected vehicle, whether it was purchased new or second hand. You can also participate if you have already sold the affected vehicle, provided that you have proof of your previous ownership (including the vehicle’s VIN number). You can also instruct us to claim if you bought the car outright with cash, or financed it through Volkswagen Financial Services or through any other form of financing.

What will it cost me?

If the case is successful, costs will normally be paid by the Defendant. If the case is lost then the Plaintiffs would have to pay their own and the Defendant’s costs. We believe the prospects of success in this case are excellent and that it is unlikely that the case will be lost, however we are currently liaising with the English Solicitors on the option of sharing Insurance cover for the Defendant’s costs in the litigation to provide for that possibility. 

It is not possible to obtain Insurance in this jurisdiction for Plaintiff’s costs – i.e. our own legal costs and the costs of Court proceedings, expert fees, Counsel’s fees, etc . Although it is hoped that the case will be successful and these will be paid by VW, nonetheless we need to make provision for the, albeit unlikely, possibility that the case does not succeed. Clearly the level of cost for each individual will depend on the number of people who join the action as costs would be divided equally between all those involved. It is therefore difficult to estimate until we are fully aware of the numbers. However, it is likely to be in the region of £100 – 200 at most.

There is also a possibility that you may have legal expenses insurance with your home insurance policy that might cover a case like this. We will be able to advise individuals if this is the case, as this will depend on the terms of the individual policy.

We will be in a position to clarify the cost position in early September.

How does it work?

The claims will be brought in the High Court in Northern Ireland due to the complexity and overall value of the claim, even though individual claims will be modest (estimated between £2-3,000).

We anticipate that, due to the numbers involved, the Court is likely to direct that this case be dealt with as a Group Action. The Court will make a specific Order to this effect and the Order will govern how the case is conducted, how Plaintiffs can sign up, how costs are managed, etc. This is the most cost-effective way of running a case with large numbers of Plaintiffs and keeps cost risk to a minimum.

It is also likely that, since the issues in the case are identical,  the Court will direct that the case here will be stayed until the outcome of the English case to avoid duplication of costs in relation to expert fees, etc. It is important that people have signed up to join the Action as the Court will usually impose a limitation date for being involved. This means that costs here will be limited but will need to cover the administration of the case, Counsel’s fees, Court fees, etc.

We will be in a position to clarify this in early September.

Do I need to have the ‘fix’ carried out?

There is no legal obligation for you to have the ‘fix’ if you do not want to and VW have said the affected vehicles remain roadworthy in their current state. As we do not know precisely how the fix works, we cannot definitively say whether owners of affected vehicles ought to have their cars fixed or not. At this stage we do not think that having your car fixed will compromise your claim.  The reason behind this is that, regardless of the effect of the fix, you will still (we believe) have overpaid for vehicle at the point of purchase and should be compensated accordingly.

Can I still be a part of the Group Action if I do / do not have the ‘fix’?

You can be part of the Group Action against VW regardless of whether you have had or not had your affected vehicle ‘fixed’.

Background to the claim

What is the VW emissions scandal?

On 18 September 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency ordered Volkswagen to recall 482,000 cars that were found to be producing up to 40 times more emissions than permitted.

On 22 September 2015, Volkswagen admitted that 11 million cars worldwide were fitted with an algorithm built into the car’s engine management software. The software recognised when the car was being tested for emissions, and manipulated engine performance to produce a lower nitrogen oxide (NOx) reading.

We allege that this algorithm was a ‘defeat device’ which meant that – in the real world – affected vehicles were producing more emissions than UK regulations allowed. The issue is not confined to Volkswagens, and includes all cars manufactured by the Volkswagen Group, namely Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and SEAT.

What is the claim about?

The plaintiffs have alleged that:

  1. the VW Group misled consumers by claiming that the affected vehicles complied with manufacturing and testing regulations;
  2. in fact, the vehicles were fitted with a software algorithm that artificially lowered the level of NOx emissions during environmental testing;
  3. andas a result of this deceit, consumers who purchased an affected vehicle are entitled to compensation for their loss

Financial Matters

How much compensation will I get?

Affected owners are encouraged to join this action, not only because of financial motivations, but also to hold VW to account for their deliberate deceit and the damage they have caused to the environment.

We will strive to obtain the maximum recovery on your behalf for the lowest possible cost, and with the least amount of risk. However, given that VW has not yet offered to ‘fix’ most of the affected vehicles, and because the consequences of the fix are not yet clear, it is not possible to advise definitively about the likely level of compensation. The amount of any damages that are awarded will ultimately be determined by the Court or else negotiated through settlement.

While US claimants received an average $8,000 before costs, damages payments in the UK are likely to be more modest. We expect that UK damages payments will be per vehicle rather than per person and so the more joint owners or previous owners the vehicle has had the lower the damages per owner for that car.

What is the loss that is being claimed for?

We believe that the Court will assess the difference between what you paid for your vehicle and the inherent value of what you actually received. We will argue that the price you paid reflected a range of matters including the vehicle’s reputation for being well-engineered and kind to the environment.  We will argue that you received a vehicle that should never have been licenced for sale because it did not meet the required emissions standards. In addition, we will claim an amount for your inconvenience. If it can be shown that your car has depreciated in value or performance, these factors will be relevant to an assessment of loss.

Plaintiffs who bought their vehicles through finance provided by VW Financial Services will have an additional claim.

Will I get a new car if you win the litigation?

No. If the case is successful, you will receive monetary damages as compensation for any loss you have suffered.

Do I still need to be making monthly payments to VW Financial Services if I am suing VW?

Yes. We would strongly urge you to continue to make your contractual payments. The fact that you are engaged in litigation with VW does not mean you are able to breach your current contractual obligations to VW and may result in any award of damages being reduced accordingly.

Joining the group?

Why should I claim?

It is important that VW be held account for its actions. We believe that you have overpaid for your vehicle, and that its resale value may also be affected.

Who can bring a claim?

You can join the action if you purchased or owned an affected vehicle, whether it was purchased new or second hand.

You can also participate if you have already sold the affected vehicle, provided that you have proof of your previous ownership (including the vehicle’s VIN number).

You can also instruct us to claim if you bought the car outright with cash, or financed it through Volkswagen Financial Services or through any other form of financing.

What do I need to do in order to join the claim?

You need to complete the sign up process on this website by completing the questionnaire. To be eligible, you must have, or have had, an affected vehicle. You can check to see if your car is affected by following the links on this website.

What documents/information do I need to keep or have to be part of the claim?

It is important that you retain any documents that might be relevant to the case. For example, car brochures, documents relating to your purchase, finance documents and any other documents which were relevant to your decision to purchase the affected vehicle.

If you no longer have those documents then you are still likely to be eligible to participate.

In order to minimise legal costs, we ask that you do not send the documents to us at this stage. We will request them from you when they are required.

What will being in the claim mean for me?

Can I speak to a lawyer about the progress of the claim?

As the case progresses, we will keep the group updated by way of email updates. We will also update the blog and FAQs section of our website. If there is something you are not clear about and require a specific response to, you can submit a web query which we will endeavour to respond to as soon as possible.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS FOR UPDATES ON THE CASE>>

How long will the litigation take?

It is difficult to estimate the likely timeframe, but it is anticipated that the litigation could take between 18-24 months to get to trial.

What if I have already signed up with another group?

If you have only expressed an interest to join another group and there is no retainer in place, you are free to instruct whomsoever you please. If you have formally been retained as a client by another firm, we recommend that you contact that firm to ascertain the position.

VW’s response to the claim and the proposed ‘fix’

What does VW say about the claim?

Since the scandal broke in September 2015, VW have since committed to recall and fix all affected vehicles by the end of 2017 but have offered no compensation to affected owners.

What is the ‘fix’?

One of the key complaints is that nobody knows what the ‘fix’ entails and VW will not tell their customers what it involves.

Are there any concerns with the ‘fix’?

Due to the lack of information, it is difficult to ascertain what the result of the fix may be. The English Solicitors have spoken to experts in vehicle emissions and testing and suspect that, to some extent, VW will be able to ‘remap’ the vehicles’ ECUs (electricity control units) so that published fuel economy and performance figures do not change noticeable.

Hasn’t VW compensated American owners already?

Yes. VW has come to a $15bn settlement with VW owners in the USA. This was arrived at following several class actions and considerable regulatory and political pressure.

Why is VW not offering the same amount of compensation to UK owners?

VW say that the situation in the UK is different as they can fix the vehicles. VW are not inclined to make any offers of goodwill to UK owners nor are they offering to buy back affected vehicles.

Environmental Issues

What is NOx?

NOx is a pollutant. It is harmful to humans and the environment which is why its emissions are controlled and regulated.

What effect does NOx have on the environment?

NOx is a pollutant which has a negative impact on the environment in a number of forms. Some examples are as follows:

  • An increase in ground-level ozone (also referred to as smog)
  • An increase in acid rain
  • A deterioration of water quality
  • Contributes to Global Warming

What effect does NOx have on our health? 

In the UK, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs has claimed that exposure to ‘particulate matter’ from emissions has been estimated to reduce average life expectancy in the UK by six months. Defra estimates that the UK death rate is 4% higher due to NOx pollution, causing 23,500 extra deaths per year.

The level of NOx pollutants is estimated to cost UK public health services over £16 billion per year.

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