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Class Actions

Mitigating risk in a new reality, is your business ready?


The current pace of change is rapid and, in many cases, business-critical decisions are being made without the luxury of time for thorough investigation or reflection. Against that background, there is obvious scope for error – or, in any event, for allegations to be made with the benefit of hindsight that things could and should have been done differently. Where there are large numbers of individuals or businesses affected, there is the potential for class actions to be brought. 

It is widely anticipated that the number of class actions brought around the world will continue to grow, driven by the globalisation of claimant firms, claims management companies and litigation funders. The nature and size of such disputes, if not managed effectively, can lead to costly and long lasting litigation which can damage the reputation and, ultimately, the profitability of the business. 

We have a long history of acting for companies faced with class actions, including actual or threatened proceedings. Our class action specialists help our clients to navigate this complex area of law, including the novel legal issues which frequently arise, successfully resolving or defending class action litigation across multiple jurisdictions. Clients rely on our extensive knowledge and experience with class actions, strengthened by our global network of lawyers who effectively collaborate and leverage their experience in multi-jurisdictional, national and cross-border disputes. 

We have acted in a significant number of the largest and most complex class actions in recent years and have expert understanding of the relevant court rules in different jurisdictions and the basis on which class actions claims can be challenged.  

We draw on a unique depth of expertise in all practice areas and sectors across our global network in which class action claims are prevalent including banking and financial services, consumer products and manufacturing, business and human rights, environment, competition, energy, mining, infrastructure, TMT and utilities. We are also often instructed by and work with insurers in relation to resulting insurance claims. 

Herbert Smith Freehills has specialised proficiency in the practice areas that are frequently the subject of class actions, including: 

  • Securities litigation and investments 
  • Cyber and Data  
  • Insurance 
  • Business and Human rights 
  • Consumer protection/fraud 
  • Product liability and consumer protection 
  • Environmental / Climate Change 
  • Competition 
  • Employment and Pensions 
  • Tourism 

Combining subject matter and sector expertise with the services of our unique Global Advocacy Group enables us to minimise the commercial and reputational effect a dispute can have on your business.

Recent Experience


Iveco and Fiat Chrysler as coordinating and UK competition litigation counsel in relation to follow-on damages claims stemming from the European Commission's settlement decision in Trucks, one of the most high profile competition infringement and follow-on damages cases in Europe.

Lloyds Banking Group

Successfully represented Lloyds Banking Group in defending a high profile claim brought by around 6,000 shareholders in relation to the acquisition of HBOS at the height of the financial crisis. The claim proceeded by way of a group litigation order and involved highly complex legal and factual issues as well as novel damages claims. The claim was heard in a 19 week trial in late 2017/early 2018. Judgment was handed down in November 2019 and Lloyds was successful in having all claims dismissed. 


Advising BHP on strategic matters and two class actions arising from the Samarco Dam in one of the largest shareholder class actions in Australia, in terms of claim period, number of group members and share trades. It raises several novel issues including the breadth of group membership, multiplicity of proceedings and parallel criminal proceedings in Brazil.

Johnson & Johnson/DePuy International Ltd

Advised in defending a number of class actions involving allegations of defective production and negligence in the manufacture of hip implants. Proceedings were initially brought in various jurisdictions by 4 different plaintiff law firms, and then consolidated in the Federal Court of Australia

G4S Plc

Acting for G4S Plc in relation to its defence of two sets of high profile proceedings brought by various shareholders in the company, under section 90A and schedule 10A of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). The claims relate to allegedly false and misleading statements or omissions made by G4S regarding its billing practices between 2011 and 2013. In March 2021, the High Court ruled in favour of G4S to strike out approximately 90% of the quantum of the claims in the first set of proceedings.

RBS Group

Acting for RBS and its former directors in defending actions brought by shareholder and investor groups in connection with RBS's 2008 rights issue. This involved a Group Litigation Order which consolidated 16 separate claims into 4 claimant groups, with approximately 36,000 individual claimants. The claims were brought under section 90 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and they alleged misstatements in and omissions from RBS's rights issue prospectus.  The claimants sought damages of around £4 billion in total.  Confidential settlements were reached with all claimant groups before trial. The dispute was one of the largest claims by value and scope to have gone through the English court system.


Herbert Smith Freehills “clearly stands out as a leader in the class action space‘”
Dispute Resolution: Class Actions, Legal 500 Australia
Dispute resolution powerhouse that consistently tops the rankings across the world.
Dispute Resolution, Chambers and Partners, UK
“Market leaders in the class action space, with a depth of talent and understanding of the law and the market which cannot be found elsewhere”.
Dispute Resolution: Class Actions, Legal 500 Australia
Its international co-ordination is impeccable, very timely, well communicated and cohesive across their various local offices.
Dispute Resolution, Chambers and Partners, Global-wide
Key class actions latest thinking

Underscoring the team's expertise and thought leadership, our global team have written the complete and comprehensive guides to class actions in both Australia and UK. Written by leading lawyers from our global firm and bringing together the experience and perspectives of some of our leading disputes lawyers from their work on the most complex and significant class actions.

Class Actions poolside series

Insights and updates

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The ruling provides comfort for boards wrestling with the impact of climate change on their...
2nd March 2023
The Draft Bill heralds much-needed reforms to group litigation for consumers in Italy but will...
20th February 2023
Europe's largest economy unveils plans to meet EU rules to facilitate group consumer claims

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