The missing piece: class actions in the UK

17 February 2021

Stephen O’Dowd considers the need for a generic class action regime in the UK

At a time when class actions are gaining momentum around the world, and victims of mass harm have access to litigation funding and the ability to forum-shop, the UK must offer them an effective means of redress.

Touching on the Hiscox Action Group Claim that Harbour is funding, as well as the Merricks v MasterCard case, Stephen believes that “In order for the UK legal system to maintain its first-class status, it requires a generic class action regime.”

Rather than open the floodgates to a ‘tsunami’ of litigation, Stephen argues that a generic regime would simply allow deserving victims of mass harm to be fairly compensated.

“Litigation funders take great care to back only the strongest class actions precisely because their commission is dependent on the action succeeding and damages being recovered from the opponent. Also, there are numerous safeguards present in the UK legal system to ensure the floodgates remain firmly intact. Most notably, UK litigation is subject to the loser pays principle, which acts as a strong deterrent against meritless claims because the loser, or his/her funder, must pay a large portion of the opponent’s legal costs. In the context of class actions, those costs are often significant.”

To read Stephen’s full article on class actions, click here.

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