UK motorists start ‘Dieselgate’ class action against Volkswagen

German carmaker accused of fitting illegal software to evade pollution tests

UK drivers have accused German car maker 0'>Volkswagen of fitting devices to evade clean air laws, as the country’s biggest class action lawsuit to tackle the “dieselgate” scandal began.

Lawyers at the High Court in London will argue the case over the course of two weeks, with a judgment expected in spring 2020.

Volkswagen was caught fitting illegal software to diesel-powered cars to cheat pollution tests in 2015, costing the German company €30 billion ($33bn) so far.

The car manufacturer has said that about 11 million cars globally and 1.2 million in the UK were fitted with the software that got round tests designed to limit noxious car fumes and carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution.

Law firm Slater and Gordon is representing more than 70,000 VW customers.

Gareth Pope, head of group litigation at the law firm said: “This trial will establish once and for all whether VW installed prohibited ‘defeat devices’ in affected vehicles and is a significant milestone in our clients’ attempts to hold VW accountable in the UK.”

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The High Court will determine whether the software installed in vehicles was a “defeat device” under EU regulations and whether the High Court is bound by the German Regulator’s finding that the software was a “defeat device.”

Volkswagen maintains that this was not so in either case and will continue to “defend robustly” its position in the High Court.

The trial will be held under civil law. If motorists win the case they will be entitled to compensation from Volkswagen.

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