News & Updates

Competition Appeal Tribunal hears UKTC’s application for a Collective Proceedings Order

UK Trucks Claim Limited’s application to the Competition Appeal Tribunal to bring a collective claim for damages on behalf of those who acquired new medium or heavy trucks in the UK during the 14 year period 1997 -2011, when the largest European truck manufacturers were found to have breached competition law, was heard over five days from 19 April 2021.

At the same time, the Tribunal heard the RHA’s application to bring a collective claim arising from the same competition law breach. The Tribunal has reserved its judgment on both applications and its decision is expected in late summer or autumn. As soon as this is received we shall provide a news update.

All truck owners who want to benefit from UKTC’s action need take no further action for the moment, however, If you would like to know about UK Trucks Claim Limited’s application and would like to talk directly to a member of the UKTC independent Board, please email us at:  info@uktrucksclaim.co.uk

Claimants successful in defending challenge to ongoing truck cartel litigation

Court of Appeal rules that deal behind group action against truck manufacturers is not a damages-based agreement

On 5 March 2021, the Court of Appeal gave a landmark judgment which upheld a Competition Appeal Tribunal decision that third party litigation funding agreements (LFAs) do not constitute damages-based agreements and are legal.

UK Trucks Claim Limited is seeking to bring a collective action on behalf of tens of thousands of new truck purchasers against major truck manufacturers to recover the losses suffered by them as a result of the truck manufacturers’ anti-competitive activities.  Calunius Capital is funding the claim.

The Court of Appeal was asked to consider whether funding agreements ‘entered into with claimants by third parties who play no part in the conduct of the litigation, but whose remuneration is fixed as a share of the damages recovered by the client’ count as damages- based agreements, which would therefore fall foul of regulation. In judgment, the Court of Appeal agreed with a Competition Appeal Tribunal decision from 2019, which found that the funding was not a DBA and was therefore legal.

National law firm Weightmans is acting on behalf of UK Trucks Claim Limited. Partner Laurence Pritchard comments:

“The judgment confirms the validity of the LFA put in place for the collective proceedings action brought by UK Trucks Claim Limited (UKTC) in the trucks cartel litigation. This confirmation is important, not only for the existing agreements that are already in place in ongoing litigation, but also for the new regime for collective actions in the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

“This judgment proves  that the route we are taking to secure compensation for truck owners is the right and proper one. We look forward to moving forward with this claim, with the next hearing scheduled for April 2021.

“UKTC’s application is to bring an “opt-out” collective claim, by which all new truck purchasers and lessees are automatically included in the class action unless they choose to opt-out. To qualify as a class member a victim does not need to sign up to any funding agreement or insurance policy because UKTC has already put those arrangements in place.  

“All truck owners who want to benefit from UKTC’s action need take no further action for the moment but are welcome to contact us for further information”

For the judgment click here[ES1] 


Fair compensation for UK truck owners, disadvantaged by an unlawful cartel

Claiming damages for infringement of EU competition law by Europe’s Leading Truck Manufacturers – Update – February 2021

Background
In 2018 UK Trucks Claim Limited (UKTC) applied to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) for a Collective Proceedings Order (CPO) with a view to claiming damages on behalf of purchasers and lessees of new trucks in the UK caused by the cartel operated by the manufacturers of medium and heavyweight trucks between 1997-2011. The European Commission published a Decision in 2016 fining the manufacturers involved €2.9bn.

UKTC is a company specially formed to bring this class action in the CAT. The board of UKTC is drawn from experienced members of industries directly affected, with a former Deputy High Court judge as its Chairman. UKTC’s aim is to represent the interests of a class of victims made up of those who purchased or leased new trucks in the UK during the period of operation of the cartel, whatever sector they may have operated in. UKTC is pursuing the class claim as a completely independent body representing the interests of class members from sectors including:

  • Wholesale
  • Retail
  • Logistics
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Distribution
  • Delivery Services
  • Local Authorities
  • Emergency Services
  • Haulage.

UKTC’s class definition is any person or organisation who, during the period of the cartel, purchased or leased one or more new medium or heavy trucks registered in the UK. It includes all those who drive and operate trucks as part of their business. The class excludes military trucks, the authorised dealers of truck manufacturers and finance companies whose only interest is to help others to finance the acquisition of the trucks.

UKTC’s application is for an “opt-out” CPO, by which all new truck purchasers and lessees are automatically included in the class action unless they choose to opt-out. To qualify as a class member a victim does not need to sign up to any funding agreement or insurance policy because UKTC has already put those arrangements in place. Under this opt-out case, the legal costs and funding costs would not be deducted from the award of damages, enabling each victim to take its full share of the award of damages, without any deductions.

Whilst we believe the opt-out option best serves the interests of all those who have been financially disadvantaged by the actions of the cartelists, UKTC has also applied for an opt-in order as an alternative to its opt-out claim. We have done

this to provide the CAT with this option should it be so minded. The cost and funding position is different for an “opt-in” CPO.
Further details of the claim and information about UKTC can be found at UKTC’s website:
https://uktrucksclaim.co.uk/

The deadline for starting a claim
UKTC’s class claim for an “opt-out” order (which automatically includes all new truck purchasers and lessees during the cartel period unless they choose otherwise) was started within the limitation period. Anyone who is part of the UKTC class will therefore be part of a claim which was brought within time if the opt-out CPO is granted to UKTC by the CAT.

The measure of damages
A class claim of this kind enables the CAT to award a single lump sum of damages to be shared between all eligible class members without any individual class member having to prove its actual loss. The measure of damages starts with the difference between the artificially inflated price paid in the market to purchase or lease a new truck during the period affected by the cartel, and the price that would have applied in a competitive market. Large fleet operators may have claims worth millions and smaller operators may have claims running to tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Funding the Claim
A class claim enables the class members to share the costs of the claim, including legal and professional costs and insurance premium payments. UKTC’s litigation funder is meeting disbursement payments. Weightmans are UKTC’s solicitors, whose fees will be paid at the end of the case if it succeeds. UKTC will ask the CAT to order the cartelists to reimburse Weightmans’ fees, the funder’s fees and the disbursements paid by the funder. There is no cost risk to UKTC or the class members if the claim fails. The funder has arranged an insurance-backed indemnity for any adverse costs. There is no cost for those financially disadvantaged by the actions of the cartelists and the independent UKTC Board is committed to securing fair compensation for all those affected. In 2019 the CAT approved UKTC’s funding arrangements.

Current position
The CAT has now set the dates for the hearing of UKTC’s application. The CAT will hear the application between 19 and 26 April 2021. We are working with the barristers and economic experts to prepare for that hearing.

Next steps
When the CAT makes its decision as to whether UKTC’s class action should go forward, further guidance on how you participate and how you claim will be available. Until then anyone wanting to benefit from UKTC’s claim need take no action.
The UKTC Board would like to hear from you. If you have issues you would like to raise please contact
mike@uktrucksclaim.co.uk If you wish to register your interest in the UKTC claim and to receive regular updates from Weightmans or if you have any questions or comments, please email amber.jeral@weightmans.com.

Industry-Wide Trucks Cartel Facing Massive Legal Claim in UK Tribunal

Press Release

  • UKTC ‘opt-out’ class action over anti-competitive behaviour leads to industry-wide response
  • Damages could be worth £20,000 per truck
  • Claim is one of the largest of its kind in UK legal history

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE LONDON, 30 July 2018

British truck owners and lessees could receive compensation totalling £14bn without even having to sign up to a claim, in one of the biggest class actions in UK legal history.

UK Trucks Claim Limited (UKTC) has issued proceedings on behalf of owners and lessees of over 600,000 trucks, which were sold by way of unlawful anti-competitive practices undertaken and admitted by a cartel of European truck manufacturers over a 14-year period.

Two years ago, the European Commission fined MAN, Daimler, Volvo/Renault, Iveco and DAF a record €3bn (£2.7bn) for breaking EU competition rules. The European Commission’s ruling is considered binding proof of the existence and facts of a cartel in UK courts. The fines imposed by the European Commission do not compensate the victims and the European Commission encourages private enforcement via damages actions in its wake.

As a result, all victims can recover losses caused by the truckmakers’ unlawful conduct, including UK victims. Brexit will not affect this claim: this is a claim before a UK court regarding UK registrations of trucks and is based on rights granted by UK legislation.

UKTC, which was formed specifically to represent all affected UK truck owners and lessees, is seeking to be appointed as their class representative to pursue a collective claim for all those affected.

Its application was lodged on 18 May 2018 with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), which has powers to award damages to victims of anti-competitive conduct. 2 Since filing, UKTC has made significant strides in progressing the claim. The Iveco defendants have been served and the Daimler defendant is in the process of being served. The CAT is expected to list a Case Management Conference for the autumn.

Although UKTC has named only the Iveco and Daimler groups as defendants, other parties to the cartel, Volvo/Renault, DAF and MAN, have also taken steps to participate in the proceedings. And it does not matter which brand of truck was bought or leased because all will be included in UKTC’s claim. UKTC’s claim therefore includes all purchases or leases of other relevant trucks, for example, MAN, Volvo/Renault, DAF, Scania, Isuzu, and Mitsubishi. MAN and Volvo/Renault have formally applied to the CAT for permission to intervene in the case and DAF has indicated its intention to do likewise.

The UKTC is asking the CAT to grant UKTC’s application for an “opt-out” order. Under this special procedure, the CAT would first determine the total amount of damages the defendants are required to pay to UK traders for their overall losses from 1997 to 2011. Individual traders would then be able to claim their fair share from this total fund.

If successful, truck owners and lessees could be in line for compensation averaging £20,000 per truck acquired during the cartel period, according to research consultancy Europe Economics, who estimated the likely total damages suffered by UK truck owners and lessees.

The UKTC is aware of the fact that a second application has now been brought by the Road Haulage Association – however, UKTC understands that this application is narrower in scope and would apply only to purchasers or lessees of trucks who ‘opt-in’ to the RHA claim. The UKTC remains of the view that its application is clearly the best means of ensuring that all those who have suffered losses arising out of this long-running and wide-ranging cartel have an opportunity to obtain proper compensation for their loss.

Commenting on the action, His Honour Roger Kaye QC, chairman of the UKTC board, said:

“We are bringing this landmark action on behalf of all purchasers and lessees of one or more new medium and heavy trucks registered in the UK who suffered loss as a result of the illegal activities of manufacturers. Not only will this be the one of biggest cases of its kind but, crucially, individual traders won’t have to sign up to anything until the amount of damages is determined.

“We have assembled a strong team of lawyers, economists and other experts to bring the claim with unrivalled experience, and my co-directors are each industry specialists in their chosen fields, with a broad and deep knowledge of the UK trucks market. I am confident that this claim provides the ideal opportunity for the UK victims of the truck cartel to achieve justice and fair compensation”.

Mike Leonard, chief executive of the Building Alliance and a director of UKTC, added:

“The team we have brought together will enable all UK truck purchasers and lessees to be represented fairly before the CAT in pursuing the claim for losses suffered by them as a result of the manufacturers’ anti-competitive behaviour”.

The CAT will be listing its first Case Management Conference (CMC) in the autumn when directions will be provided for the parties ahead of a full hearing, which will decide whether to grant UKTC permission to pursue its claim.

The CAT’s directions at the CMC will also include whether DAF, MAN and Volvo/Renault can intervene and support Iveco and Daimler in their efforts to prevent UKTC’s claim on behalf of victims of the cartel.

UKTC’s legal adviser is Weightmans LLP, a national firm with over 200 partners and 1,200 staff who have a wealth of experience in dealing with group litigation claims and securing favourable outcomes for their clients.

The counsel team comprises three renowned competition law specialists: Rhodri Thompson QC, Adam Aldred and Doug Cochran.

UKTC’s costs are funded by Calunius Capital LLP, investment adviser to some of Europe’s biggest litigation funders and a founding member of the Association of Litigation Funders. Calunius is funding the proceedings so that the persons who purchased or leased these new trucks do not have to do so.

Willis Towers Watson has arranged insurance cover to cover the defendants’ costs, in the unlikely event that UKTC is ordered to do so.