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News of CORLA’s launch at The Law Society published in Legal Futures

April 1, 2022 by CORLA

CORLA Launch

Legal Futures has published news of our launch yesterday at The Law Society, highlighting our aim to bring together claimant law firms in the UK to ensure access to justice for the public.

Calls for long- and short-term reform to the group action regime yesterday marked the launch of the Collective Redress Lawyers Association (CORLA).

Founded by leading firms Edwin Coe, Hausfeld & Co, Keller Lenkner UK, Leigh Day, Milberg London, and PGMBM, CORLA is open to claimant practitioners and other stakeholders in the group litigation sector.

A launch event held at the Law Society last night heard leading civil justice academic Professor Rachael Mulheron urged the creation of a generic opt-out regime to improve the process for bringing group litigation.

Professor Mulheron, who works out of Queen Mary University of London, recommended that CORLA and others draft a report for government detailing the case for reform. “The evidence of need will be there,” she emphasised.

This would encompass cases that were not brought, cases brought but that then faced procedural problems, cases that were brought but “could have been done less expensively” had they been opt-out, cases brought abroad on behalf of UK residents, and finally cases that avoided the courts by going to arbitration or through statutory compensation schemes.

The second stage would be to create a cross-industry working group to draft legislation providing for a generic opt-out regime, similar to that produced by a Civil Justice Council working party in 2008 of which Professor Mulheron was a member. Its recommendations were rejected by the Labour government of the day.

Tom de la Mare QC of Blackstone Chambers told the event that there were more immediate reforms that would also help.

Noting that the current regime of group litigation orders and representative claims was “really skinny in the extreme” – the former have just six rules in the CPR plus one on costs – he said most of the “real operating rules” were in case law. This contrasted with the CAT’s detailed collective action framework.

Mr de la Mare warned that the complexity of group litigation was “only going to grow” and called for “some form of codification” of the application of the overriding objective to group litigation to aid judicial decision-making.

He also wanted a generic pre-action protocol letter and a generic group litigation guide, which could then be built up in the specialist guides, along with a forum for best practice – potentially a court user group in addition to CORLA – and a single judge put in charge of “the overarching issues of policy”.

The joint presidents of CORLA are arguably the two most senior group action litigators still practising – Martyn Day and David Greene, senior partners of Leigh Day and Edwin Coe respectively.

Mr Day told the event that one of the association’s aims was to encourage claimant firms to work together – rather than against each other – and “give an air of respectability to what we do and do it in a way we feel proud of”.

Mr Greene added: “Recent examples show that the ad hoc response, in this jurisdiction, to mass wrongs leaves access to justice for citizens far behind. CORLA will seek to address, with others, the failings to build an effective comprehensive process for all.”

Published on April 1, 2022 by CORLA

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