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Group claims

There’s strength in numbers

Often, if you’ve experienced injustice and are considering bringing a claim, there may be others in a similar position. Collective action is a way for people to work together and achieve justice.

Sometimes known as class actions or group actions, joining a group claim can make the process faster and easier for all involved. Combining multiple compensation claims – whether related to medical negligence, personal injury, financial mismanagement and more – may save time, reduce legal costs and improve the chances of success.

Discover and join the current active group claims being worked on with Leigh Day.

What are group claims?

When several people are affected by the same injustice – sometimes impacting hundreds, thousands and even millions of individuals – they might take collective action together and bring a group claim. This will be against the same defendant(s), whether the party at fault is an individual, organisation or small number of defendants.

To make a group claim, the claimants need to be affected by the same or similar issues. Joining together as one saves time for the claimants, defendants and the courts and is generally preferred for eligible cases.

Group claims are often brought when many people have experienced physical or financial harm or injustice due to negligence or fault. Some examples of types of group claims can include:

  • Defective household products damaging property or health
  • Medical negligence at a specific surgery or by a medical professional
  • Data breaches where personal information was at risk
  • Financial loss through misinformation and/or mis-sold products
  • Workplace related claims for financial loss.

Why join a group claim?

Getting involved in any sort of litigation can be a daunting prospect, particularly if you are worried about legal costs. Group claims are often more reassuring because joining together with other people means your claim against a manufacturer, corporation, health trust or negligent medical practitioner may be made easier by sharing common costs and information.

Pooling together your resources and knowledge can help strengthen a claim. It also provides reassurance to others, encouraging them to come forward. A group action can help to reduce the costs associated with litigation for all involved.

What is the difference between a ‘class action’ and a ‘group claim’?

You might have heard of the US term ‘class action’. This is a type of legal claim where one or more individuals bring an action on behalf of themselves and other people who have all been affected by the same issue.

People who have been affected by the actions of the same person or the same product automatically become part of the class action and must ‘opt-out’ if they do not want their claims to be joined.

In the UK, ‘group’ or ‘multi-party’ actions are the way in which several people can join together in one legal action. The key difference between group actions in the UK and class actions in the US is that people who have been injured in the UK have to ‘opt-in’ and choose to become a part of the group to have their claims represented. The whole process is managed by the Court and “Lead Solicitors” are appointed.

Why choose Leigh Day?

Leigh Day’s lawyers have unrivalled experience in bringing group claims. We have acted for groups of clients numbering from 15 to 50,000 in size.

The experience we have built up over the last 35 years in this specialisation means that you can be reassured that our expert teams know the best way to represent you and your group of claimants.

Contact Leigh Day for further help and information about group claims.

Group claims – FAQs

Even though everyone involved in a group claim seeks compensation for the same or similar issues, it is still secured on an individual basis. This is because individual experiences in relation to the claim can still differ, which may affect how much you are owed.

The amount of compensation secured may vary depending on the extent of your injuries or your specific financial losses, for example. Sometimes a precedent can be set to give an idea of how much group claims may be worth based on select factors.

Every group claim is different, and it may take several years to resolve. However, it is normally quicker to join or start a group claim then bringing an individual claim, where possible.

How long it takes depends on factors such as the size of the group, the number of defendants and whether they accept liability, and the complexity of the claims.

Rather than presenting every single case in court, with group claims one or more lead test cases are picked out. A lead test case will go through the courts and any resolutions can be used to set precedents for all eligible cases as part of the wider group claim.

This helps save time and avoids overburdening the courts system. Only if your claim is selected as a test case may you have to provide evidence in court. It can still be possible to settle each case on an individual basis if you desire, but using a lead test case aims to resolve common issues to avoid this.

A Group Litigation Order (GLO) enables the management of related claims together as one in court. It is not essential when a group claim is made, but may help speed up the process.

The group must apply to the court to make a group claim a GLO. If successful, it will:

  • Create a register for all claims within the group
  • Decide a final date for any additional claims
  • Nominate a lead solicitor to represent the group

Having a GLO may save time if the group claim goes to court, but even with a GLO it can still be settled out of court.

Any time several people want to bring a claim against the same defendant, you may be able to organise or join a group claim. Contact Leigh Day about your claim and a specialist member of our team can advise on whether you are eligible to join a group claim.

You may also be able to join a group claim on behalf of:

  • A loved one who has passed away
  • Someone without the mental capacity to join themselves
  • Your child who is/was under the age of 18 when the incident relating to the group claim occurred.