Herbert Smith Freehills launches new edition of Class Actions in England and Wales

A second edition of our text on class actions in England and Wales, co-authored by Herbert Smith Freehills lawyers, has been published in the UK by Sweet & Maxwell.

The work takes the reader through the life cycle of a class action claim and includes a chapter devoted to the settlement of class actions.

Focusing in particular on the Group Litigation Order procedure and the opt-out mechanism for bringing competition claims in the Competition Appeal Tribunal (as well as representative actions under CPR 19.8), the discussion of settlement issues covers:

  • the topical question of how the English courts encourage settlement, both generally and in class actions
  • practical issues that can arise in settling class actions, including around questions of confidentiality and authority (including the use of representative steering groups or boards to conduct negotiations and execute agreements)
  • the extent to which the court becomes involved in settlements of class actions, either informally within the case management process or through a formal requirement for court approval (comparing the lack of a general approval requirement in GLO proceedings to other group procedures both domestically and internationally).

For more information about the text, see this post on our Litigation Notes blog.


Mediation in shareholder class actions – article published

Mediation can be a useful tool in shareholder class actions as in other types of litigation. There are a number of obvious advantages to defendant corporations in particular: minimising legal costs, reducing further publicity and impact on share price, and avoiding the considerable distraction to the business of defending the class action to trial.

However, there are certain issues and risks for defendants in shareholder class actions which are not necessarily found in other disputes and which pose some unique additional challenges for the parties when contemplating mediation.

These issues are examined by David Taylor and Annie Leeks, senior associates in our Sydney and Brisbane offices respectively, in the recently published article ‘Mediation in shareholder class actions: a defendant’s perspective‘.   (This article was first published in the LexisNexis Australian Alternative Dispute Resolution Bulletin Volume 2, No. 2, May 2015.)


Case Study: settlement of mass claims arising out of World Trade Center litigation

Herbert Smith Freehills acts for the Lend Lease group of companies (LL LMB) in relation to the World Trade Center (WTC) clean-up litigation following the events of 9/11. Over 18,000 plaintiffs sued more than 50 defendants including the City of New York and LL LMB for personal injuries, respiratory diseases and other damages alleged to have resulted from the WTC clean-up operations.  The litigation is reported to be one of the largest mass tort actions in the United States.

Lawyers worked closely with US attorneys from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and devised a dual strategy involving the enactment of federal legislation (the Zadroga Act) in the United States in 2011 and a mass settlement with the plaintiffs in the litigation. The result of this dual strategy is that LL LMB’s exposure is effectively limited to available insurance. This strategy was an exceptional approach to resolving litigation, as it ended the prolonged litigation and resulted in a ‘win’ for the rescue workers, the contractor companies, and the City of New York. Michael Mills and Lauren Whitehead in our Sydney office explore the settlement and resulting legislation. Continue reading