The Claim was filed in February 2020. Before a collective action can proceed, the Tribunal must authorise the proposed class representative and certify the claim as eligible to be included in collective proceedings. The certification hearing took place over three days, from 29 November to 1 December 2021. The Tribunal was chaired by the Honourable Mrs Justice Falk with Dr William Bishop (an economist) and Eamonn Doran (a solicitor) sitting as Ordinary Members.
The hearing began with our counsel making legal arguments, explaining the claim and why it should be certified. The shipping companies then set out their position. They focussed on three main areas of attack – (i) they argued that the methodology which our economist proposed could not calculate losses to class members, (ii) they argued that the class members with the most valuable claims should not automatically be included but should have to sign up to take part in the claim from the outset, and (iii) they argued that deceased persons’ estates should not be able to claim on behalf of class members who have now passed away. In the final section of the hearing, we answered the shipping companies’ criticisms, explaining why the points they made were wrong and why, despite those challenges, the claim should progress to the next stage.
We now await the Tribunal’s judgment on whether the claim will be certified. Although there is no formal deadline for the judgment, we anticipate that it will be handed in the Spring 2021.
31 December 2021