We are at the forefront of mass tort litigation. Our lawyers provide expert advice in relation to the defence of mass tort claims, including claims arising from environmental pollution, health and safety breaches, human rights abuses and corporate governance failures. We also advise clients on proactive risk management to minimise their potential mass tort liability.
A mass tort claim arises where a tortious act results in harm to numerous victims, and therefore, leads to multiple claimants bringing a claim against the tortfeasor(s). They are often “bet-the-company” matters. A number of claimant law firms are now targeting this area and are actively identifying potential claims and commencing actions before the English courts. This is an increasing trend and poses a significant litigation risk.
Mass tort claims raise complex legal and factual issues, particularly in relation to reputational risk, funding and access to justice, parent company liability, jurisdiction and settlement. However, our experience and expertise in this area means that we can recognise and advise on the variety of risks, legal issues and challenges faced by clients.
Mass tort claims can arise in any industry, but are particularly common in the following sectors:
- Oil and gas
- Technology, media and telecommunications, and
- Life sciences.
Our experience in this area includes:
- advising an oil major in a large scale environmental mass tort claim arising out of alleged toxic waste dumping in Zambia, with proceedings in Zambia and potential proceedings in London
- defending Gemfields (part of the Pallinghurst mining group) in English proceedings for damages arising from alleged violations of human rights standards at a ruby mine in Mozambique
- advising a large infrastructure client on a claim in respect of bore hole pollution and a claim concerning the level of damages due under a complex long-term PPP contract for conduct arising from a breach of health and safety law.
- advising a UK FTSE 100 company in relation to risk management for mass tort liability
- acting for The Solicitors Regulatory Authority investigating Leigh Day in respect of their conduct arising from the Al Sweady Inquiry. Leigh Day are a leading claimant law firm, focusing on mass tort litigation.
- advising a variety of pro bono clients in relation to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
- advising BP as a claimant in the multi-party damage claims arising from the Buncefield oil depot explosion