At any one time there are a significant number of high value US class litigations & European group claims involving Financial Services heading to trial or in the settlement process.

European and UK Group actions

In the UK:

  • Multiple claims are brought to court under a Group Litigation Order where the claims have “common or related issues of fact or law”.
  • The test for being considered common or related is whether all claims can be “conveniently” disposed of in the same proceedings. The courts usually allow the multiple claims to proceed where it can be shown that a case can be disposed of expeditiously in a cost-effective manner by joining parties or claims in a single action.
  • The claimants must not have conflicting interests in the claim. As a matter of good practice, they should be represented by the same solicitors and counsel.
  • “Same interest” Representative claims are brought where one or more claimants can represent other claimants with the “same interest”. There are three elements to be satisfied for the representative party and the persons represented, to be deemed to have the same interest:
    • A common interest.
    • A common grievance.
    • A remedy beneficial to all.

The judgment or order made is binding on all those represented in the claim.

US Class actions:

  • Combine multiple claims in a single law suit, with the named plaintiffs representing a court defined class of persons with similar interests.
  • Any person or entity falling within that class would be entitled to a share of any damages awarded without the need to actively participate in the litigation.
  • The procedure is widely used for a variety of financial services claims, for example the claims against the US arms of 15 global banks who conspired to fix prices in the foreign exchange (“FX”) market over a 13 year period. The litigation resulted in a settlement fund of $2.3 Billion.
  • Settlement is divided proportionately between the eligible members of the claimant class who have registered.