Top questions

Background to the RHA’s group claim

Joining the RHA’s group claim

Scope of the claim

How it works

Financial matters

What being in the claim will mean for me

Top questions

The RHA is bringing a group claim before the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London to secure compensation for any person or business that purchased or leased trucks between January 1997 and January 2011 (as well as for a certain period after January 2011 until prices returned to normal competitive levels). The European Commission decisions in the Truck Cartel case (see below for further details) will prove before the Competition Appeal Tribunal that the truck manufacturers are liable for a violation of the EU competition rules and it will therefore be necessary for the RHA to show that the Truck Cartel caused operators loss and the amount of that loss.

Any firm, company, or individual who purchased a truck of 6 tonnes or more between January 1997 and January 2011 (as well as for a certain period after January 2011 until prices returned to normal competitive levels). The claim extends to trucks of 6 tonnes or more purchased (whether outright or on finance), to leased trucks, to brand new trucks and to second-hand trucks. It may also extend to trucks below 6 tonnes.

There are real benefits to joining the RHA’s group claim rather than seeking to bring an individual case or joining another group of potential claimants:

  1. The RHA is a well-respected industry body within the road haulage sector – the only trade association dedicated to the road haulage industry – with significant clout and negotiating power. This will assist in negotiating any settlement should the truck manufacturers be minded to consider this at any stage in the legal process.
  2. The RHA is taking its obligations to the haulage sector seriously in deciding to bring the group claim. The RHA has put in place a dedicated team of staff to deal with and to drive forward the claim on behalf of those who sign up. The internal RHA team is headed up by Richard Smith who has over 25 years of experience in the sector.
  3. Your business and other claimants will be able to “stand behind” the RHA which will front the proceedings on your behalf meaning you can focus on your day-to-day operations.
  4. The RHA is very cognisant of the fact that truck operators will continue to have business dealings with the truck manufacturers after this case and will conduct the proceedings with this in mind in a measured and constructive manner.
  5. There are economies of scale in the RHA’s bringing a large-scale action. Competition law claims are notoriously expensive claims to bring not least because of the level of disclosure required and the need for expert economic input. For most operators, it would not be a viable option to bring individual claims (which would likely cost in the region of £500,000 to £1,000,000) against the truck manufacturers.
  6. The RHA has put in place third-party litigation funding on very competitive terms (not least given the size of the proposed case). The third-party funder will pay the entirety of the costs associated with bringing the collective proceedings (to the end of trial) in return of a share of any damages award if the case is successful. There will therefore be no cost to you in signing up to the legal proceedings. Moreover, assuming a large number of claimants sign up to the RHA action – which is anticipated – you will receive the vast majority of what is owed to you in compensation (91% or more).
  7. Operators choosing to join the RHA’s group claim before the Competition Appeal Tribunal will not be liable for the truck manufacturers’ costs should the case not prove successful in whole or in part. The only exceptions to this are if a company’s claim raises individual issues or if a company makes individual submissions to the Competition Appeal Tribunal. The RHA is nevertheless putting in place multi-million pound after-the-event insurance cover to protect the RHA and individual claimants that opt into the RHA’s legal proceedings. The insurance will cover any adverse costs orders against the RHA or individual claimants. On this basis, the collective proceedings would be risk-free from the perspective of truck operators.
  8. The RHA has appointed a first-rate legal team to work on this matter. It includes Backhouse Jones, the UK’s leading transport law firm, and specialist competition law barristers from Brick Court Chambers in London and Exchange Chambers in Manchester. The legal team have worked on competition matters for organisations such as the FIA (regulatory body for Formula 1), FIFA, Google, GSK, Samsung, Sky, and UEFA. A leading economic consultancy (Cornerstone Research) has also been retained.
  9. The RHA does not intend to profit from acting as representative, maximising the level of compensation that will be returned to those affected by the cartel.

There will be no cost to your business in joining the claim. The RHA has secured a significant amount of funding from a specialist litigation funder. If the RHA loses the claim, the funder will lose all of its investment. To offset that risk, the litigation funder will take a fee from the compensation awarded if the RHA is successful on behalf of the claimants. Based on conservative estimates by the RHA, your business should still receive 91% or more of its proportionate share of the compensation. If the RHA loses the claim, the RHA will not charge your business for its time or the costs it has incurred on your behalf. The funder will simply lose its investment.

Usually in litigation, the losing party is ordered to pay the winning party’s costs. As the RHA is bringing this matter on behalf of your business, any such order would generally be made against the RHA. There are more limited circumstances in which your business as an individual claimant (i.e., a truck purchaser) might be ordered to pay costs where issues arising in the litigation apply only to your business. However, the RHA is taking out a significant level of insurance cover to insure against this risk both in relation to itself and in relation to your business and each individual claimant. Your business agrees to be bound by the insurance policy wording. Your obligations under the insurance policy are explained in more detail in the Claim Summary Brochure.

Your business can claim for any trucks of 6 tonnes or more purchased outright or on finance and for any leased trucks. The claim is not limited to brand new trucks but also covers second-hand trucks. The relevant time period is January 1997 to January 2011, although you will also likely be able to claim for trucks purchased or leased after January 2011 until prices returned to competitive levels (the so-called “run-off” period). The RHA is currently examining this issue in more detail with expert economists and we will let you know once the extent of the run-off period is known. The cartel might also have had an impact on the prices of trucks below 6 tonnes and also on fuel costs. Again, these issues are being examined in more detail with expert economists and we will provide further details once known.

The RHA’s significant due diligence to date indicates that the EU Truck Cartel will have had a material impact on the prices you paid for your trucks regardless of whether you purchased them outright, purchased them on finance, or leased them. The RHA will be seeking to reclaim the difference between what the trucks should have cost in a competitive market as compared with the cartel prices, together with any other increases in operators’ costs – for example in relation to fuel – resulting from the cartel.

Based on significant due diligence carried out to date, the RHA believes that the amount of compensation per new truck will be material and is likely to exceed £6,000 on average (including interest). This figure does not take into account potential compensation in relation to increased fuel costs arising from the truck manufacturers deciding collectively to delay the introduction of more fuel efficient emissions technologies.

The RHA is aware that other potential groups or law firms might be suggesting a higher level of compensation per truck. The RHA is adopting a cautious approach to estimating the level of damages mindful of the fact that key details about the cartel remain hidden in secrecy and will not become available until later in the process. Hidden details include, for example, the amount by which the truck manufacturers actually agreed to increase their gross list prices at various points during the 14-year cartel and the cost that truck purchasers should be charged for emissions technologies. Although there is a study by the European Commission suggesting that historical cartels on average give rise to a 19% increase in prices charged to customers (and can be as high as 40%), this is merely an average figure across a number of different cartels and does not tell us anything reliable about the Truck Cartel case.

How much compensation owed to your business will actually be paid to you will depend on a number of factors, including the overall loss, the number of truck operators that sign up to the RHA’s claim, the amount of time the claim takes, the volume of documents disclosed, and the complexity of the expert evidence.

However, based on conservative estimates, the RHA believes that you will retain 91% or more of the damages owed to you. This means, for example, that if compensation was awarded at the level of £6,000per truck (including interest), you would obtain £5,460 or more per truck. If the case settles early, there is a third discount on the percentage return to the funder resulting in an increased amount recovered to the operator – around 94% or more of the damages would be returned to you or £5,640 per truck assuming compensation of £6,000 per new truck.

We appreciate that you may well not have records dating back to 1997. This should not stop your business joining the RHA’s group claim. To the extent that you do not have complete records, we consider that we may be able to obtain the information we need from other sources (such as dealers or the manufacturers themselves). Equally, it may well be possible to persuade the Competition Appeal Tribunal to accept less evidence given how many years the cartel dates back.

Background to the RHA’s group claim

The European Commission has fined the six major European truck manufacturers (MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler/Mercedes, Iveco, DAF, and Scania) over £3.4 billion for cartel activities. The collective fine is the highest fine by far ever imposed by the European Commission. The manufacturers – at their own admission except for Scania – were party to a cartel from 1997 to 2011, with senior managers involved at HQ level. The manufacturers (including Scania) engaged in various coordinated practices, including:

  • Aligning their gross list prices at the start of the cartel;
  • Increasing gross (and sometimes net) list prices;
  • Agreeing the cost that truck purchasers should be charged for emissions technologies (Euro 3, 4, 5, and 6);
  • Delaying the introduction of the emissions technologies;
  • The cartel was a serious violation of EU competition rules. For further details on the cartel and the European Commission’s findings, click here; and
  • The European Commission’s decision in the Truck Cartel case will prove before the Competition Appeal Tribunal that the truck manufacturers are liable for a violation of the EU competition rules and it will therefore be necessary to show that the Truck Cartel caused operators loss and the amount of that loss.

The RHA is the UK trade association that is dedicated to the interests of the road haulage sector. The Truck Cartel is one of the key issues facing the road haulage sector at this point in time. Not least after many RHA members contacted the RHA about the Truck Cartel, the RHA believes that it was incumbent upon it to take action on behalf of its members and the road haulage sector more generally in the UK. The RHA is mindful of the fact that many of its members are SMEs that would not be capable of taking legal action on their own against the truck manufacturers. Indeed, competition law claims for compensation are notoriously expensive to bring. However, the truck manufacturers have engaged in a serious abuse of EU competition rules that will ultimately have affected truck operators’ bottom lines. In bringing a legal claim on behalf of the UK’s road haulage sector, the RHA will be able to achieve economies of scale that individual truck operators would not be able to achieve on their own, thereby enabling truck operators to claim the compensation they deserve.

Any firm, company, or individual who purchased a truck of 6 tonnes or more between January 1997 and January 2011 (as well as for a certain period after January 2011 until prices returned to normal competitive levels). The claim extends to trucks of 6 tonnes or more (whether purchased outright or on finance), to leased trucks, to brand new trucks and to second-hand trucks.

No. The RHA’s group claim is open to RHA members and non-members alike. Allowing non-members to join the RHA’s claim will benefit RHA members. Indeed, the more truck operators that sign up to the RHA’s claim, the larger the return to individual truck operators and therefore every truck operator benefits.

No. The RHA will not benefit financially from the claim, thereby maximising the level of compensation that will be returned to those affected by the cartel.

Joining the RHA’s group claim

The European truck manufacturers have been found guilty of a serious violation of EU competition rules and have collectively been fined £3.4 billion. We believe that you paid too much for trucks you purchased or leased during the cartel and for a period afterwards and that you are entitled to compensation.

Broadly speaking, your business is entitled to claim for the difference between what you paid for your trucks and what you would have paid if the cartel had not existed. Based on current conservative estimates, we think that you will be entitled to at least £6,000 (including interest) on average in relation to each truck you purchased or leased.

Since the truck manufacturers also jointly delayed the introduction of more fuel-efficient emissions technologies, your business may also be able to claim for increased fuel costs.

We are asking you to sign up to the RHA’s group claim by completing the sign-up process on this website. You will first be asked to answer some questions about your business (if you have not already done this) and then you will be asked to confirm your business’ agreement to three key documents:

  1. A Litigation Management Agreement by which your business appoints the RHA as your legal representative in the group claim.
  2. A Deed of Adherence by which your business agrees to be bound by the terms of the Litigation Funding Agreement between the RHA and litigation funder and which sets out the terms on which the funding is being provided to the RHA, including the return that the funder will receive assuming the group claim is successful.
  3. An Authority document by which your business gives the RHA the power to manage your claim.

More details on the content of these agreements will be provided during the sign-up process. You can also read the Claim Summary Brochure.

There will be no cost to your business in joining the claim. The RHA has secured a significant amount of funding from Therium, a specialist litigation funder. If the RHA loses the claim, the funder will lose all of its investment. To offset that risk, the litigation funder will take a fee from the compensation awarded if the RHA is successful on behalf of the claimants. Based on conservative estimates by the RHA, your business should still receive 91% of more of its proportionate share of the compensation. If the RHA loses the claim, the RHA will not charge your business for its time or the costs it has incurred on your behalf. The funder will simply lose its investment.

Scope of the claim

Any firm, company, or individual who purchased a truck of 6 tonnes or more between January 1997 and January 2011 (as well as for a certain period after January 2011 until prices returned to normal competitive levels). The claim extends to trucks of 6 tonnes or more purchased outright or on finance, to leased trucks, to brand new trucks, and to second-hand trucks.

The aim of the compensation claim will be to put your business in the same position you would have been in if the Truck Cartel had not existed. You will be able to claim for any losses that have resulted for you from the Truck Cartel. This will include, for example, claiming for higher truck prices you paid because of the Cartel and any increased level of interest you might have needed to pay in relation to financing truck purchases, as well as higher operating lease charges. In delaying the introduction of more fuel efficient emissions technologies, you may also be able to claim for increases in your cost base through higher fuel consumption.

Your business can claim for any trucks of 6 tonnes or more purchased outright or on finance and for any leased trucks. The claim is not limited to brand new trucks but also covers second-hand trucks. The relevant time period is January 1997 to January 2011, although you will also likely be able to claim for trucks purchased or leased after January 2011 until prices returned to competitive levels (the so-called “run-off” period). The RHA is currently examining this issue in more detail with expert economists and we will let you know once the extent of the run-off period is known. The cartel might also have had an impact on the prices of trucks below 6 tonnes and also on fuel costs. Again, these issues are being examined in more detail with expert economists and we will provide further details once known.

The aim of the compensation claim will be to put your business in the same position it would have been in if the Truck Cartel had not existed. If your business have had higher fuel costs or your cost base increased because of the Truck Cartel, you will be able to claim for these elements. We will update you with more details as we examine these issues in more detail with the legal team and expert economists.

We are continuing to examine whether you can claim for second-hand trucks but our initial view is that this will be possible.

We are continuing to examine whether you might be able to claim for trucks that are less than 6 tonnes. It is possible that increases in truck prices above 6 tonnes had a knock-on effect on prices of trucks below 6 tonnes. We will keep you informed on this issue.

The RHA considers that you can claim for any truck you purchased or leased between January 1997 and January 2011, as well as for a certain period after January 2011 which we will notify you about in due course. The relevant brands include (but may not be limited to):

  • DAF
  • Daimler/Mercedes
  • Iveco
  • MAN
  • Renault
  • Scania
  • Volvo

Although Scania chose not to admit its guilt or to settle the case with the European Commission in 2016, Scania has now been found guilty participating in the cartel and was fined £770 million on 27 September 2017. While Scania has said it will appeal the European Commission’s decision to the European Courts, we believe that Scania can be included in the RHA’s group claim for compensation against the EU Truck Cartel.

No, it does not matter if your business purchased your trucks on finance. What you paid under a finance contract would have been based on the price of the truck and because the truck price was artificially inflated, you will have paid more under the finance contract than you would have paid in normal competitive conditions.

No, it does not matter if your business leased its trucks. What you paid under a lease contract would have been linked to the price of the truck and because the truck price was artificially inflated, you will have paid more under the lease contract than you would have paid in normal competitive conditions.

No, it does not matter if your business purchased its trucks from a dealer. If the dealer is owned by one of the truck manufacturers, this will be treated as a purchase direct from the relevant manufacturer who was engaged in the Truck Cartel and artificially inflating prices. If the dealer is a franchisee, there will be a presumption that any increase in prices imposed by the truck manufacturers would have been passed on to your business.

No, you do not need to have purchased your trucks direct from one of the truck manufacturers. Your business is entitled to claim in relation to both direct purchases from one of the truck manufacturers and purchases from franchised dealers or other intermediaries.

No, it does not matter if your business no longer has the trucks you purchased or leased during the relevant period. Generally speaking, your business is entitled to claim for any trucks you purchased or leased during the relevant period regardless of whether or not you have the trucks any longer.

The Truck Cartel operated from 17 January 1997 to 18 January 2011. Your business can claim for any trucks purchased or leased during this period. As prices will not have returned to competitive levels as soon as the cartel ended (and indeed the truck manufacturers were coordinating on the cost at which EURO 6 emissions technologies would be passed on to truck purchasers), you will likely be able to claim for trucks purchased or leased during a certain period after the end of the cartel. The RHA and its experts are currently examining this issue and we will let you know once the length of the run-off period is known.

In the vast majority of cases, we do not believe it will make a difference to your claim that as a general matter you may seek to pass on the costs of your business to your customers. The truck manufacturers will have the onus to prove that you passed on any increased prices to your customers. You know how fiercely competitive the haulage industry is and how difficult it would be to pass on an increased cost in your business to your customers. Moreover, if the manufacturers sought to raise this argument, they would need to identify how prices you charged to individual customers were affected by the higher costs you faced because of the Truck Cartel – there is a high evidential burden in this regard.

Backhouse Jones, our main legal advisors on this matter, will need to analyse the facts of your case before we can give a clear response on this. If any potential claims were assigned to you when you acquired another haulage business, you may well be able to claim on behalf of the business you acquired as well.

If your business and therefore the legal entity that purchased or leased trucks no longer exists, you may no longer have a claim. It would nevertheless be worth your contacting the RHA or Backhouse Jones, our main legal advisors, to explore this in more detail.

Merely because your business is in insolvency would not prevent your business from benefitting from the RHA’s claim. If your business is in insolvency, the RHA would recommend that you contact Backhouse Jones, our main legal advisors, to discuss this in more detail.

Backhouse Jones, our main legal advisors on this matter, will need to analyse the facts of your case before we can give a clear response on this. If any potential claim you had was not assigned to the purchaser of your business, you may continue to have a valid claim. We would recommend your contacting Backhouse Jones to explore this in more detail.

Yes, your business can join the claim if you purchased or leased trucks in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

You may well be able to join the claim regardless of where in Europe your business purchased or leased your trucks. If you have purchased or leased trucks outside the UK, we would recommend your speaking with Backhouse Jones, our main legal advisors to discuss further whether your claim can be included with the RHA’s group claim before the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

We appreciate that you may well not have records dating back to 1997. This should not stop you joining the RHA’s group claim. To the extent that you do not have complete records, we consider that we may be able to obtain the information we need from other sources (such as dealers or the manufacturers themselves). Equally, it may well be possible to persuade the Competition Appeal Tribunal to accept less evidence given how many years the cartel dates back.

No, your business does not need to join up to the RHA group claim in order to claim compensation. You could consider bringing a claim on your own or joining another group. However, competition law claims are notoriously expensive to bring and we would expect in most cases that your costs in bringing the claim would exceed the compensation you might win. While your business could consider joining another group, the RHA believes that there are real advantages in your joining the RHA’s group claim, including:

  1. The RHA is a well-respected industry body within the road haulage sector – the only trade association dedicated to the road haulage industry – with significant clout and negotiating power. This will assist in negotiating any settlement should the truck manufacturers be minded to consider this at any stage in the legal process.
  2. The RHA is taking its obligations to the haulage sector seriously in deciding to bring the group claim. The RHA has put in place a dedicated team of staff to deal with and to drive forward the claim on behalf of those who sign up. The internal RHA team is headed up by Richard Smith who has over 25 years of experience in the sector.
  3. Your business and other claimants will be able to “stand behind” the RHA which will front the proceedings on your behalf meaning you can focus on your day-to-day operations.
  4. The RHA is very cognisant of the fact that truck operators will continue to have business dealings with the truck manufacturers after this case and will conduct the proceedings with this in mind in a measured and constructive manner.
  5. There are economies of scale in the RHA’s bringing a large-scale action. Competition law claims are notoriously expensive claims to bring not least because of the level of disclosure required and the need for expert economic input. For most operators, it would not be a viable option to bring individual claims (which would likely cost in the region of £500,000 to £1,000,000) against the truck manufacturers.
  6. The RHA has put in place third-party litigation funding on very competitive terms (not least given the size of the proposed case). The third-party funder will pay the entirety of the costs associated with bringing the collective proceedings (to the end of trial) in return of a share of any damages award if the case is successful. There will therefore be no cost to you in signing up to the legal proceedings. Moreover, assuming a large number of claimants sign up to the RHA action – which is anticipated – you will receive the vast majority of what is owed to you in compensation (91% or more).
  7. Operators choosing to join the RHA’s group claim before the Competition Appeal Tribunal will not be liable for the truck manufacturers’ costs should the case not prove successful in whole or in part. The only exceptions to this are if a company’s claim raises individual issues or if a company makes individual submissions to the Competition Appeal Tribunal. The RHA is nevertheless putting in place multi-million pound after-the-event insurance cover to protect the RHA and individual claimants that opt into the RHA’s legal proceedings. The insurance will cover any adverse costs orders against the RHA or individual claimants. On this basis, the collective proceedings would be risk-free from the perspective of truck operators.
  8. The RHA has appointed a first-rate legal team to work on this matter. It includes Backhouse Jones, the UK’s leading transport law firm, and specialist competition law barristers from Brick Court Chambers in London and Exchange Chambers in Manchester. The legal team have worked on competition matters for organisations such as the FIA (regulatory body for Formula 1), FIFA, Google, GSK, Samsung, Sky, and UEFA. A leading economic consultancy (Cornerstone Research) has also been retained.
  9. The RHA does not intend to profit from acting as representative, maximising the level of compensation that will be returned to those affected by the cartel.

How it works

The RHA plans to bring its group claim before the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London. This is a specialist court dealing with competition law claims. The RHA will utilise a new regime called “collective proceedings” that has been introduced for claims like this.

Collective proceedings are a form of court procedure that enable a class representative to bring opt-in proceedings on behalf of businesses affected by an infringement of EU competition rules. RHA as the class representative will be responsible for running all aspects of the case before the Competition Appeal Tribunal, including those aspects for which claimants would normally be responsible.

The core notion of collective proceedings is that they group together similar claims that raise common issues (i.e., the same, similar, or related issues of fact or law). The common issues will be dealt with during the proceedings and the judgment as regards the common issues will be binding on all claimants that opt into the RHA’s group claim. There may also be a need to deal with individual issues during the case that affect only particular operators.

There are four main stages to collective proceedings. The first phase involves applying to the Competition Appeal Tribunal for a collective proceedings order (“CPO”). The CPO will authorise the RHA as class representative and certify the class (i.e. confirm which claims are eligible for inclusion in the collective proceedings). Once the CPO has been made, the second stage of the collective proceedings would be a trial of the common issues. The third stage would be the determination of any individual issues. The fourth stage would involve distribution of compensation to the claimants that have opted into the collective proceedings.

The RHA is uniquely well placed to be the representative body in the United Kingdom in the context of bringing the claim for compensation against the European truck manufacturers. The RHA is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to the interests of the road haulage industry. It is the only trade association dedicated to road haulage. It is a large, well-resourced association and is experienced in utilising its resources to benefit its membership and the sector at large.

It is important that you retain any documents from January 1997 that might be relevant to your case. This includes purchase documents, finance documents, lease documents, registration documents, annual accounts, information on the costs of your business, and price lists.

If you no longer have those documents, then you are still likely to be eligible to participate in the RHA’s group claim.

In order to minimise legal costs, we ask that you do not send the documents to us at this stage. We will request them from you when they are required.

We appreciate that your business may well not have records dating back to 1997. This should not stop you joining the RHA’s group claim. To the extent that you do not have complete records, we consider that we may be able to obtain the information we need from other sources (such as dealers or the manufacturers themselves). Equally, it may well be possible to persuade the Competition Appeal Tribunal to accept less evidence given how many years the cartel dates back.

The core legal team working on this matter are the law firm Backhouse Jones and barristers from Exchange Chambers in Manchester and Brick Court Chambers in London.

Backhouse Jones are the UK’s leading firm of solicitors dealing with the transport industry. The firm has a strong heritage within the transport industry and provides industry-specific advice to its portfolio of transport clients ranging from multi-nationals to entrepreneurial start-ups. Backhouse Jones has worked on complex litigation cases, including representing operators in multi-million pound claims for compensation from the UK Government arising out of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Exchange Chambers is an award-winning set of chambers, consistently ranked as a leading national set with a proven track record in all major areas of law. In terms of competition law experience, David Went was recognised as one of the UK’s leading competition lawyers worldwide under 45 years old in Who’s Who Legal: Competition – Future Leaders 2017. He was previously named in Global Competition Review’s list of the leading 40 competition law specialists under 40 years’ old worldwide in 2012 and has consistently been ranked in leading legal directories since 2010, including a top-tier ranking in Chambers & Partners.

James Flynn QC is a leading competition law litigator at the London Bar. His wide experience at the Bar builds on his years of practice at a magic circle law firm in London and Brussels, together with his work as a Legal Secretary at the European Court of Justice.

The legal team have worked on competition matters for organisations such as the FIA (regulatory body for Formula 1), FIFA, Google, GSK, Samsung, Sky, and UEFA.

For more details on the RHA’s legal team, please see here.

The RHA is using Cornerstone Research for expert economic advice. Cornerstone Research is one of the world’s leading economic consulting firms. Established in 1989, it has over 700 staff in eight offices in Europe and the United States. The firm provides expert testimony and economic and financial analysis to lawyers in all phases of regulatory proceedings, disputes, and international arbitration. Clients have included Porsche, Uber, Deutsche Bank, Google, Barclays, Pfizer, and Intel.

Peter Davis, who leads Cornerstone Research’s European competition practice, will head up the case. Dr Davis formerly held the post of deputy chairman of the UK Competition Commission and he has acted as enquiry chairman for numerous mergers, as well as for competition and regulatory investigations. He is an industry-leading expert in competition economics, European regulatory matters, and follow-on damages actions. In addition to his consulting work, Dr Davis has been a faculty member at the London School of Economics and MIT Sloan School of Management.

It is very unlikely that you or anyone from your business will need to attend court. Once the RHA has been appointed as class representative, the Competition Appeal Tribunal will examine the common issues across the class of claimants and reach judgment on those common issues. While we will need you to provide some level of evidence to support the claim, only a very small number of claimants will actually be asked to attend court to provide oral evidence.

If you wish to address the Tribunal on any particular issues, you would have the opportunity of doing so, although you would need to cover any legal costs associated with that.

The defendants will be one or more companies (owned by MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler/Mercedes, Iveco and DAF) fined by the European Commission in its July 2016 decision.

Financial matters

The RHA’s significant due diligence to date indicates that the EU Truck Cartel will have had a material impact on the prices your business paid for your trucks regardless of whether you purchased them outright, purchased them on finance, or leased them. The RHA will be seeking to reclaim the difference between what the trucks should have cost in a competitive market as compared with the cartel prices, together with any other increases in operators’ costs – for example in relation to fuel – resulting from the cartel.

Based on significant due diligence carried out to date, the RHA believes that the amount of compensation per new truck will be material and is likely to exceed £6,000 on average (including interest). This figure does not take into account potential compensation in relation to increased fuel costs arising from the truck manufacturers deciding collectively to delay the introduction of more fuel efficient emissions technologies.

The RHA is aware that other potential groups or law firms might be suggesting a higher level of compensation per truck. The RHA is adopting a cautious approach to estimating the level of damages mindful of the fact that key details about the cartel remain hidden in secrecy and will not become available until later in the process. Hidden details include, for example, the amount by which the truck manufacturers actually agreed to increase their gross list prices at various points during the 14-year cartel and the cost that truck purchasers should be charged for emissions technologies. Although there is a study by the European Commission suggesting that historical cartels on average give rise to a 19% increase in prices charged to customers (and can be as high as 40%), this is merely an average figure across a number of different cartels and does not tell us anything reliable about the Truck Cartel case.

How much compensation owed to your business will actually be paid to you will depend on a number of factors, including the overall loss, the number of truck operators that sign up to the RHA’s claim, the amount of time the claim takes, the volume of documents disclosed, and the complexity of the expert evidence.

However, based on conservative estimates, the RHA believes that you will retain 91% or more of the damages owed to you. This means, for example, that if compensation was awarded at the level of £6,000 per truck (including interest), you would obtain £5,460 or more per truck. If the case settles early, there is a third discount on the percentage return to the funder resulting in an increased amount recovered to the operator – around 94% or more of the damages would be returned to you or £5,640 per truck assuming compensation of £6,000 per new truck.

The RHA will be aiming to win the optimum level of compensation for you and the other claimants. It is the RHA Board, advised by Backhouse Jones and specialist competition law counsel (including James Flynn QC), that will ultimately have the decision-making power in relation to any offers of settlement. One advantage of the collective proceedings regime is that the Competition Appeal Tribunal can apply a more approximate approach to calculating the amount of compensation owed to operators. This minimises the amount of evidence that operators like you need to provide and will speed up the legal process. The amount of compensation owing to your business should nevertheless be linked to the number of trucks you purchased and/or leased during the cartel period (and any run-off period until prices returned to competitive levels), together with any compensation owing because of other increases in the costs of your business, and your business will certainly be compensated appropriately for its loss.

Third-party funding is where a third party (not otherwise connected or interested in the claim) agrees to finance all or part of the legal costs of a claim. In return, the funder receives a fee payable from the proceeds recovered by the group of claimants if the claim is successful. Third party funding is therefore a form of alternative investment which, although has a high degree of risk, can be well rewarded if a claim is successful. Third-party funding allows cases to proceed which otherwise would not be able to be run.

The effect of the funding arrangements is that you will pay nothing unless the case is successful.

If the RHA obtains compensation on behalf of your business, then you will pay a fee that reflects the financial risk that the third-party funders have taken in financing the litigation.

The relationship with the third-party funder is governed by the Litigation Funding Agreement which the RHA has executed on your behalf. While the Agreement is commercially sensitive it may be inspected at Backhouse Jones’ offices.

Under the Litigation Funding Agreement, the third-party funders will pay any up-front insurance premiums, pay the disbursements associated with the case, and pay the fees due to the legal team and experts.

Based on the anticipated number of claimants signing up to the RHA action and assuming the level of compensation is in line with the RHA’s current conservative estimates, truck purchasers will retain 91% or more of the compensation owed to them. This means, for example, that if compensation was awarded at the level of £6,000 per truck (including interest), you would obtain £5,460 or more per truck. If the case settles early, there is a third discount on the percentage return to the funder resulting in an increased amount recovered to the operator – around 94% or more of the compensation would be returned to you.

This arrangement is reflective of the risk being taken by the third-party funder in agreeing to fund the claim.

Yes, the third-party litigation funding covers the costs of expert competition law economists who have forensic accountancy expertise. We would therefore envisage any forensic accountancy costs falling within the third-party litigation funding arrangement. We cannot exclude that we might need to seek further information from you during the course of the group claim process that could potentially involve your accountants but we would seek to keep this to a minimum if this arises.

What being in the claim will mean for me

You will be provided with monthly updates on how the claim is progressing. If you have a question which is not answered on this website or by our monthly updates, you can contact the legal team via the website and the legal team will aim to respond within 48 hours. If you consider that it is important to speak with a member of the legal team, you will be able to do so.

The legal case may last three to five years if the case goes all the way to final trial. However, the RHA will be engaging on a transparent basis with the truck manufacturers throughout the case and there will be every opportunity to settle the case early.

As the case progresses, we will keep the group updated by way of email updates. We will also update the content and FAQs on our website. If, however, there is something you are not clear about and need a specific response to, you can ask the legal team via our website. The legal team will aim to respond within 48 hours.

Usually in litigation, the losing party is ordered to pay the winning party’s costs. As the RHA is bringing this matter on your behalf, any such order would generally be made against the RHA. There are limited circumstances in which your business as an individual claimant (i.e., a truck purchaser) might be ordered to pay costs where issues arising in the litigation apply only to you. However, the RHA is taking out a significant level of insurance cover to insure against this risk both in relation to itself and in relation to your business and each individual claimant. Your business agrees to be bound by the insurance policy wording. Your obligations under the insurance policy are explained in more detail in the Claim Summary Brochure.

We do not believe it likely that truck prices would increase merely if the RHA’s group claim is successful. Since the Truck Cartel was unearthed, the truck manufacturers have been competing with each other in the market and have not been able in a coordinated manner to influence the prices at which their trucks should be sold. On this basis, the RHA believes that truck prices will remain competitive in future.

Given that the truck manufacturers have admitted their guilt (or been found guilty in the case of Scania) and the European Commission decision proves before the Competition Appeal Tribunal that they are liable, we believe it is unlikely that the RHA will lose the case. In the unlikely event the case was lost, the funder would lose its investment. In the unlikely event the case was lost, the funder would lose its investment. Your business would not, however, be required to pay any of the RHA’s costs or the funder’s costs in bringing the case.

Usually in litigation, the losing party is ordered to pay the winning party’s costs. As the RHA is bringing this matter on behalf of your business, any such order would generally be made against the RHA. There are more limited circumstances in which your business as an individual claimant (i.e., a truck purchaser) might be ordered to pay costs where issues arising in the litigation apply only to your business. However, the RHA is taking out a significant level of insurance cover to insure against this risk both in relation to itself and in relation to your business and each individual claimant. Your business agrees to be bound by the insurance policy wording. Your obligations under the insurance policy are explained in more detail in the Claim Summary Brochure.

Once you have have completed the first part of the sign-up process and provided details on your business, you will be sent monthly updates automatically. You can also sign up for those updates in the News section of this website.

If your business has only expressed an interest in joining another group and you have not signed any documents, your business should be free to join the RHA’s group claim. If your business has registered its interest in joining the RHA’s group claim, you should complete the necessary sign-up process on the registration website. If you have signed documents with another law firm or another group of claimants, we may not be able to accept your instructions. If you are unsure as to whether you are committed to another law firm or group of claims, you can contact the RHA’s legal team to explore this further or alternatively contact the law firm or group of claimants you have entered into agreements with.

We suggest that your business does not join the RHA’s group claim unless you are committed to seeing the case through to the end. If your business does seek to leave the RHA’s group claim once it has commenced, your business will need to pay a proportionate share of the costs of the claim being brought.