In a Law Society Gazette commentary piece, Lisa A. Rickard, the president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, said a case potentially before the UK Supreme Court is the only thing separating the UK legal system from a “US-style litigation monster.”
Merricks v. Mastercard, a £14 billion collective action lawsuit, represents the first true test of the Consumer Rights Act of 2015, which created a collective action mechanism in the UK. The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), which Rickard said was designed to “ensure that proposed collective actions are suitable for class certification, and not just a way for claimants’ lawyers to over-inflate settlements,” originally rejected the lawsuit.
Earlier this year, though, the Court of Appeal reversed the decision. The issue now, Rickard says, represents the “heart of the Consumer Rights Act.” The “authority of the CAT court and what constitutes a reasonable consumer class” is now on the line. “If the UK high court does not clearly define the rules of this new system,” Rickard said, “it will have helped to create a litigation monster that will prove wrong all those reassuring lawmakers who helped create the Consumer Rights Act.”