English Court of Appeal rules groundbreaking £93m legal action brought on behalf of rail passengers against train operating companies can proceed
London’s specialist competition tribunal, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), ruled in October 2021 that a class action should be brought on behalf of rail passengers who were allegedly overcharged by the South East and South rail franchises -west by not making the “border tariffs” sufficiently available. South East and South West could have made the move last year to get their customers to do the right thing and offer compensation. Unfortunately, they sought to delay the resolution of the case, and ultimately the payment of compensation, by pursuing an appeal.
Inot yesterday unanimous decision of the court of appeal, Sfrom the southeast and South Westerns call has been fired. The to classify stock will be proceed. The pursuit of Justice for rail passengers has taken a important walk forward.
Justin Gutmann, formerly of Citizens Advice, is the class rep. Its stand-alone claim against Southeastern and South Western was the first of its kind to be brought in the UK and is estimated to cost around £93million in damages for rail users. The Court of Appeal’s ruling means that millions of passengers who have double-paid for part of their journey on the South East and South West routes because they were not sold a border fare, will be now automatically represented in court, unless they choose to withdraw from – or refuse to – the claim.
Defendants argued that some consumers might have suffered relatively small damages, some as little as “the the price of a carry cappuccinoand that these small losses should be excluded from the claim. The class representative rightly points out, “for some consumers same a Chopped off of carry coffee is significantand the Court of Appeal clearly agreed. Delivering the sole judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Green said:
“In Mass consumer complaints quantum strength typically be calculated by multiply very little Numbers (the individual claim) with very big Numbers (the to classify) at to arrive at a substantial AGGREGATE award. A analysis of whether a claim Where Category of complaints strength be nominal Where of minimal forms Nope part of Phone a exercise. The is Nope logic in the CAT calculator a AGGREGATE award who is the sum of a multitude of little complaints but then to slice stopped a percentage at reflect the do this some (Where same more) of the complaints are little. To To allow this would have derogate of a central objective behind the regime who is at justify the collective rights of consumers sustain little losses.”
Mr. Gutman’s case is being funded by Woodsford, one of the world’s leading ESG funding and litigation firms, which provided a large budget of millions for legal fees and other costs. Lord Justice Green acknowledged the access to justice benefits of litigation funding and rejected defendants’ arguments that paying a return to litigation was a negative factor. He stated:
“at enable Mass consumer aactions at be viable at everything will be invariably require the assistance of third party funders… and the [Court] to have to So recognize this dispute funding is a Company and donors will be, Ilegitimately, look for a come back on their investment”.
Woodsford Chief Investment Officer Charlie Morris said: “This is a important Milestone in the promotion of collective to sort out in the UK, who allow consumers and little companies at reach compensation for the wrongs engaged by big Company. Woodford, a Company dedicated at holding companies at Account and delivery to access at Justice, is proud at Support Mr. Gutman, who is now a lot closer at obtaining compensation for the millions of rail passengers. »
Steven Friel, CEO of Woodsford, commented:
“This is a huge Hit for consumer to sort out in the UK, and I a m proud of from Woodsford important part in this. This victory in justin by Gutman Case re at overload on the rail network follows hot on the heels of a important preliminary victory in To mark McLaren’s Case re at car delivery charges. Both are supported by the crew here at Woodford, who is now clearly established as the more successful ESG and dispute finance Company in this Region of UK collective to sort out. My only regret is this big corporate accused Continue at use their important legal and financial Resource at struggle technical argument, with the objective of dilatory compensation Payments at consumers. Now youhat the To research of Call has rejected from the southeast and South Westerns calls, they or they should adjust the Case versus their and To allow rail users at receive youhe compensation they or they are from.
Customers in the Southeast and Southwest can find more information about the deal at https://www.boundaryfares.com/
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