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Mass litigation stymied in UK?

Some paragraphs into yet another tribute to much-publicized Atlantic-hopping U.S. lawyer Michael Hausfeld appears this interesting assessment:

It is worth noting that a US class-action lawyer is setting up shop in the UK at a time when his colleagues on this side of the Atlantic have all but given up on complex group litigation. A particularly vivid example was the Vioxx litigation where claimant lawyers pre-empted the lack of legal aid in, and therefore non-viability of an action in the UK, and went directly to the US. That action - on behalf of hundreds of UK sufferers who allege heart attacks and strokes as a consequence of taking the withdrawn anti-arthritis drug - came to an end late last year when a New Jersey court ruled that it was more appropriate for the action to take place in the UK. Mark Harvey, a class action specialist and a partner at Hugh James, the South Wales claimant firm, believes that complex litigation on this side of the Atlantic is at "crunch time". "If we don�t get a couple of these cases to trial and win them I think you could say goodbye to this area of law," he says.

...A direction by the Lord Chancellor means that there is now only �3 million available in any year for big multiparty actions.

More: American Lawyer on securities actions.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.