The Claim

In May 2018, UKTC filed its application for a collective proceedings order (CPO) in the Competition Appeal Tribunal (the “Tribunal”), which is the specialist UK tribunal that deals with claims to recover damages for harm caused by breaches of competition law.

In summary, the proposed class to be covered by UKTC’s claim is any person or organisation who, during the period of the cartel (1997-2011), purchased or leased one or more new medium or heavy trucks (i.e., trucks weighing 6 tonnes or more) registered in the UK. It includes all those operate trucks as part of their business. Given the terms of the cartel decision, the proposed class does not include second-hand trucks or military trucks, and it also excludes authorised dealers of truck manufacturers and finance companies.

The class covered by UKTC’s claim therefore comprises potential claimants from a wide range of sectors, including but not exclusively:

  • wholesale
  • retail
  • logistics
  • truck hire
  • delivery services
  • local authorities
  • construction
  • emergency services
  • haulage

UKTC’s main application is for an “opt-out” CPO, which means that new truck purchasers and lessees will be automatically included in the class action unless they choose otherwise. You do not need to do anything now or sign up to any funding agreement or insurance policy to qualify as a class member. The “opt-out” application has been designed so that you will receive your fair share of any award of damages in full without any deduction to cover the legal costs or the litigation funder’s fee.

The cost and funding position is different for an “opt-in” CPO (i.e., where a prospective class member has to choose whether to join the class in the opt-in claim). UKTC has applied for an opt-in as an alternative to its opt-out claim, although its main application is for an opt-out claim.

The deadline for starting a claim

UKTC’s claim was filed in 2018 within the legal deadline for collective claims. Anyone within UKTC’s class will not face any legal objection that their claim is out of time if the opt-out CPO is granted to UKTC by the Tribunal.

Calculation of Compensation

A class claim of this kind enables the Court to award a single lump sum of compensation (or “aggregate damages”) to be shared between all eligible class members.

Damages will be determined by calculating 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 had there not been the unlawful cartel.

UKTC will seek damages for all members of the proposed class based on their spend in each year of the cartel, plus interest to reflect the passage of time. Large fleet operators may have claims worth millions and smaller operators may have claims running to tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds.

UKTC’s Legal and Economic Team

UKTC have appointed Weightmans LLP (“Weightmans”) to act as its solicitors. Weightmans is a top 45 UK law firm with significant experience of competition law and group claims.

UKTC has also appointed a highly experienced counsel team made up of Rhodri Thompson QC, Nicholas Gibson, and Niamh Cleary. Mr Thompson QC is a leading competition law specialist, and Mr Gibson and Ms Cleary both have extensive experience of complex litigation and competition law disputes.

Dr. Andrew Lilico of Europe Economics is UKTC’s highly experienced economic expert who is assisting in the calculation of damages and formulating a fair way to distribute any damages to the class members.

Funding the Claim

A class claim enables the class members to share the costs of the claim, including legal and professional costs.

UKTC has secured litigation funding for its applications.

The litigation funder is paying the Court fees and the experts’ fees. Weightmans’ fees will be paid at the end of the case upon success. UKTC will ask the Tribunal to order the cartelists to reimburse Weightmans’ fees, the funder’s fees and the disbursements paid by the funder. Any unrecovered expenses and costs will be met by the Weightmans and/or the funder.

There is no cost risk to UKTC or to the class members if the claim fails. The funder has arranged an insurance-backed indemnity for any adverse costs.

These funding arrangements have been approved by the Tribunal.

Current position

UKTC’s application for a CPO is going to be heard by the Tribunal in mid to late April 2021. There was a hearing before the Court of Appeal on the preliminary issue of funding on 26-27 January 2021 and the judgment is awaited.

Next steps

When the Tribunal makes its decision as to whether UKTC’s class action should go forward, we will provide further guidance on how you participate and how to make your claim. In outline:

– if the application is approved on an “opt-out” basis then there will be no need for you to make a claim until an “aggregate damages” award is made; or
– if the application is approved on an “opt-in” basis then the Tribunal will give directions as to when and how individual claims are to be made.

Anyone wanting to benefit from UKTC’s claim need take no action at this stage. However, if you wish to register your interest in the UKTC claim and to receive regular updates from UKTC, or to take an active role in assisting in this important claim, or if you have any questions or comments, please email info@uktruckclaims.co.uk