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Vehicle emissions claims

Is your car doing more damage to the environment than you think? Uncover the truth about your car’s emissions. Don’t let them get away with it.

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Leigh Day represents tens of thousands of UK vehicle owners on a no-win no-fee basis against many of the leading vehicle manufacturers. This follows allegations that manufacturers fitted 'defeat' devices to their diesel vehicles to cheat the EU and UK emissions laws.

If successful, we believe diesel vehicle owners in England & Wales who bought or leased their vehicles could receive compensation worth up to 75% of the purchase price of their vehicle.

We believe this legal claim matters to everyone. These vehicles were often advertised as being more environmentally friendly with lower nitrogen dioxide (NOx) emissions. Increased levels of NOx have been linked to global warming and as many as 64,000 early deaths a year.

Leigh Day are the joint-lead lawyers in the emissions litigation on behalf of UK Volkswagen owners. In 2020 we won the first round of the emissions case against Volkswagen in the UK after a High Court judge ruled that the German road vehicle authority's findings that the software fitted to Volkswagen vehicles was a ‘defeat device’ were binding in the English High Court.

Fleet claims

We provide a specific service to fleet managers and those responsible for fleets of vehicles within businesses. To find out more please email us.

Why use Leigh Day?

Leading experts

We are the joint-lead lawyers in the emissions litigation on behalf of UK Volkswagen owners, who recently won the first round of their emissions case against Volkswagen in the UK High Court.

High Court success

In April 2020, the High Court in London found that the decision by the KBA, the German road vehicle authority, that the software was a ‘defeat device’ was binding in the English High Court.

No win - No fee

We will only deduct a percentage of your damages if the claim is successful, but you will not have to pay anything if the claim is lost.

Step by step guide to the claim

Starting your claim

Please check your eligibility to see if your car is affected by using our vehicle registration checker.

Just enter your vehicle registration and we will tell you whether your vehicle is eligible to join the claim.

Cars Queuing

Submit your information

If your vehicle is eligible, we will ask for a few contact details.

Please be assured your details are not shared with anyone and we have a strict privacy policy to keep your details safe.

Filling In An Online Form

Our legal agreement

You will then be asked to agree to a conditional fee agreement (CFA) or a damages based agreement (DBA) dependent on what type of vehicle you have. These are both also known as ‘no win no fee’ agreements.

Full details of these agreements are included at this stage.

Man Signing A Document

Further details about your car

We may want to ask a few more details about your vehicle, but that’s it, our team will then be in touch for documents and any further questions if required.

We hope you will choose Leigh Day to represent you in this important group claim.

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Does this apply to petrol or diesel vehicles?

The current claim against relates to diesel vehicles only.

How can I check if my vehicle is eligible to join?

Please complete our online vehicle registration checker to confirm if your vehicle is eligible to join the claim. Please note that the claims are still in the early investigation stage. It may be that following receipt of further evidence, we do not consider your particular vehicle to be affected by the emissions issue. If this is the case we will explain this to you fully.

Can I make a claim if I no longer own the car?

Most likely yes, provided you are able to confirm that your ex-vehicle is eligible. You will need to check your vehicle registration number and we will ask you to provide us with your vehicle purchase documents.

Does it matter if I bought my car second hand?

It doesn’t matter. You are eligible to join the claim whether your vehicle was bought new or second hand.

Can I claim for more than one vehicle?

Provided all the vehicles you want to claim for are eligible, yes. We will need you to complete a separate questionnaire for each of your vehicles.

Does it matter where I bought my vehicle?

No, it does not matter where you bought your vehicle as long as it was bought in England & Wales. You are eligible to bring a claim against the manufacturer whether you bought your vehicle from a showroom, from a private seller or from a third-party dealer, or if you bought the car for business purposes.

Can I bring a claim if I bought my vehicle on finance?

Yes, provided you bought an eligible vehicle, you are able to bring a claim.

Can I bring a claim if my vehicle is leased?

Yes, if the contract is in your name and the vehicle is eligible, you are able to bring a claim.

Can I bring a claim if I have a company car?

Yes, if the contract is in your name and the vehicle is eligible, you are able to bring a claim.

What vehicle documents do I need to bring a claim?

You do not need to have any documents to start your claim with Leigh Day.

At some stage we will ask you to provide us with documents regarding the purchase of your vehicle including for e.g. the contract of sale or other proof of purchase, finance agreement and/or lease agreement. If you have these documents, then please place them somewhere safe until we request them. Do not worry if you no longer have these documents, we will be in touch with details about how to request them.

What will it cost me to bring a claim?

If your vehicle is eligible, we will offer to act for you on a “No Win-No Fee’ basis. This means that we’ll only deduct a percentage of your damages if the claim is successful. Please see the FAQs for your vehicle.

If the claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay anything.

Once you have checked that you are eligible to bring a claim, we will ask you to read through our funding agreement and sign the same. You will then be a client of the firm.

What happens if your claim is unsuccessful?

If you lose (that is, you get no money back from the Defendants), then you do not have to pay us anything.

We will arrange insurance to protect you against the risk of losing and having to pay the defendant’s legal costs.

Can I use my own legal expenses insurance?

You may have alternative ways of funding your claim (other than the funding package we are offering). For example:

  • Legal expenses insurance. Many home insurance products include legal expenses insurance either automatically or as an optional add-on. You should contact your insurers to check.
  • If you are a member of a trade union, you should check whether the union will fund you.
  • If you have such an alternative source of funding, then it may be cheaper for you to use it than the funding package we are offering. We are not offering to act via such legal expenses insurance/union funding, so if you wish to use it you may need to instruct another firm.

How long will the claims take?

At this early stage, it is impossible for us to give an accurate prediction of the timescale. As with any legal claim, there are some things within our control and some things outside our control. Much will depend on the Defendants’ response to the legal claim.

In our experience group claims of this type may take two to five years to progress through the Court, but it could take longer. As a client you will be provided with regular updates, particularly in relation to the timescale for next steps which can be predicted more accurately than for the case as a whole.

What is the claim worth?

The types of legal claims we would recommend you bring will depend on your individual circumstances (such as when you bought your vehicle, whether you bought it from an authorised dealer and whether it was paid for using finance). As such it is impossible to say that all claims will be worth a certain amount.

For those clients who are eligible to bring a claim under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (“CPUT”) (those being people who bought their vehicle on or after 1 October 2014, via an approved dealer or using approved finance and for non-business use) are entitled to recover a discount on payments made ranging from 25% to 100%. The compensation recoverable under other types of claim is more dependent on proving loss and a lower amount may be recoverable than under CPUT.

Why should I instruct Leigh Day?

Leigh Day is one of the country's leading law firms, we are not a claims management company. Bringing group actions on behalf of consumers is one of Leigh Day's key areas of specialty and we have been involved in some of the largest group actions ever taken in the UK.

We are joint-lead lawyers in the emissions litigation on behalf of UK Volkswagen owners, and recently won the first round of the case against Volkswagen in the High Court.

In that case we argued that Volkswagen had deceived car owners as to the compliance of vehicles with EU Emissions Regulations. Lawyers for the UK drivers argued that Volkswagen engines contained defeat device software which sensed when the vehicle was being tested and so artificially reduced emissions in order to pass that test.

Volkswagen has always argued that the software did not meet the legal definition of a defeat device and so was not illegal. However, in April 2020 the High Court in London found that the decision by the KBA, the German road vehicle authority, that the software was a ‘defeat device’ was binding in the English High Court. Volkswagen was recently refused permission to appeal the judgment.

I have sold my vehicle, can I claim?

Yes, provided it can be confirmed that your vehicle is one of the vehicles we are investigating as part of the group action. You will need to check your vehicle registration number and we will ask you to provide us with your vehicle purchase documents.

What if I bought or leased my vehicle in Scotland?

We have determined that the interests of people who acquired their vehicle in Scotland are better served by bringing their claims through the Scottish courts. You are likely to be better off using a Scottish law firm that has expertise in this area.

You can contact the Law Society of Scotland who may be able to help to find a suitable lawyer. Time limits apply to claiming but we are unable to advise you on the time limits applicable in Scotland.

What if I live outside the UK?

Unfortunately, we are unable to act on your behalf if you currently live outside the UK.