You are here

Class Actions

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

Share

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.

Accolades

I have worked with other teams, and none are as prepared, resourced or sharp as Herbert Smith Freehills.
Dispute Resolution, Class Actions, Legal 500 2020, Australia
Dispute resolution powerhouse that consistently tops the rankings across the world.
Dispute Resolution, Chambers and Partners, UK
The team stands out for its in-depth technical expertise, the experience and the reputation which it has in the area of class actions, and its innovative approach to legal issues.
Dispute Resolution, Class Actions, Legal 500 2020, 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.

Globalisation of class actions

Class Actions poolside series

Recent Experience

IVECO AND FIAT CHRYSLER

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. 

BHP

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.

Our People

Learn more about how we help our clients in

Dispute Resolution

View Service

Learn more

Energy, Natural Resources & Infrastructure Finance

Administrative and Public Law

Commercial and regulated industries are faced with an increasingly complex landscape of public sector law and governance, resulting in more...
See more
Image of small green island surrounded by water

Africa dispute resolution

Our premium Africa dispute resolution practice is serviced by lawyers across our global network, and in particular by our disputes teams in...
See more

Civil Fraud

Fraud is in the news ever increasingly, across borders and sectors alike and the financial costs are high It is estimated that every...
See more
Commercial litigation

Commercial Litigation

Every deal or transaction carries with it the risk of a dispute. Successful businesses require lawyers that can pre-empt the issues that...
See more
Infrastructure

Construction Disputes

When disputes arise, our global construction dispute resolution team has the experience and industry knowledge required to achieve the...
See more

Financial Services Disputes

The banking and wider financial services sectors increasingly dominate the global disputes landscape in terms of frequency, complexity and...
See more
Insurance coverage

Insurance Coverage

We understand that stakeholders across the insurance market require specialist expertise, often across jurisdictions, and the ability to...
See more

Intellectual Property

Our intellectual property lawyers help the world's foremost companies unlock the value of their intellectual property to protect their...
See more
Managing an Arbitration: Top tips for in-house counsel  - image of a drop of water

International Arbitration

Our specialist arbitration practitioners are based across Europe, Asia Pacific, the United States, Africa and the Middle East and have...
See more
Professional Negligence

Professional Negligence

Professionals across the world face an ever-increasing exposure from claims brought against them by their clients and others.
See more

Tax Investigations and Disputes

Our team of practitioners sits at the heart of our firm's preeminent dispute resolution practice. We don’t just understand tax: we are...
See more
TMT disputes

TMT Disputes

Our global multidisciplinary TMT disputes team leads the way in helping clients navigate complex cross-border and high-value technology...
See more

Trusts and private client disputes

Our trust and private client disputes team are specialists in matters involving offshore and onshore trusts, estates, charities and mental...
See more