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U.K. class actions: a carom-shot strategy?

The way at least one British lawyer tells it, the push to open up class action procedures in the U.K. may represent a sort of carom-shot strategy on the part of the U.S. plaintiff's bar: they want to stir up these actions, but aren't actually likely to file them in British courts:

...the US plaintiffs� Bar is showing a keen interest in recruiting claimants in the UK. The aim is not to develop claims in Europe, but to export claims in which the US courts are accepting jurisdiction. So if you have a choice as a claimant, the US will be first every time: no risk on costs, contingency fees and high damages make it attractive. If a UK claimant can be recruited either as a lead plaintiff or as a candidate for opting out of the class settlement, the returns for the attorneys can be significant.

This interest is likely to be heightened by a series of decisions in the US courts. In a claim by shareholders against Vivendi, the judge in the Southern District of New York decided arbitrarily that English claimants could litigate claims before the courts, but Germans could not. All turned on the view of the court as to whether a class judgment or settlement would be enforceable; yes in England but no in Germany.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.