Implications of Justice Trower’s GLO ruling
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Justice Trower refused the Group Litigation Order application and very sadly denied the request to require Link to inform potential claimants of their opportunity to claim.
Justice Trower says it is not the court’s job to “encourage potential claimants to litigate”. So, it is up to you to make your decision. ShareSoc’s role is to highlight the issues for you to consider.
In para 53 onwards he explains the issue:
“The controversy relates to whether[,if a GLO is ordered,] Link should be required to include an update about the making of any GLO in its next communication to shareholders in the Fund…..the likelihood is that those investors who wish to sue have already instructed solicitors, and if they have not done so, the reason is likely to be that they do not wish to participate.”
ShareSoc believes that Justice Trower is conflating publicity about the Woodford scandal and publicity about routes to redress, including the costs, risks, chances of winning and alternative options.
Justice Trower says it is not the court’s job to encourage potential claimants to litigate, but ShareSoc believes that the court should have a responsibility to the victims to ensure that they are directly informed of the choices available to them.
For the past three years we have had confusion, complexity and various different options for bringing claims. The recent intervention by the FCA proposing a potential fine of up to £50 million and a redress scheme of up to £306 million (now apparently reduced to a combined £257 million) has made things even more complicated for investors weighing up their options. These may be the reasons why up to 90% of victims have yet to claim.
ShareSoc is also increasingly concerned that time may be running out for WEIF victims. Claims or complaints are subject to statutory time limits, to Financial Ombudsman Service time restrictions, and to the internal decision processes of the relevant law firms.
It is therefore important that any WEIF investor looking to lodge a funded claim in the court should make a decision about what they will do sooner rather than later. We also suggest that, at a minimum, they should register their interest with the relevant firm or make an enquiry about the options available. This initial step does not create a legal contract if you do not formally instruct the firm and agree to their terms and conditions. It may however mean that you get updates about potential time constraints relating to that firm’s claim.
See https://caselaw.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ewhc/ch/2022/3344/data.pdf for the full judgement.
This News item is written by Cliff Weight, ShareSoc director responsible for the Woodford Campaign.
DISCLOSURE: The author does not hold any position in WEIF.