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Single claim form strengthens the trend for class actions in the UK

Class actions are on the rise in the English courts, with the number of landmark cases scheduled for the upcoming year demonstrating the growth of mass litigation. Legal experts attribute the maturing group action market to a few key factors, including changes to the legal system that are making it easier to bring mass claims as a means of redress. One such development is the recent decision by the Court of Appeal to allow a single claim form in some group action cases.

The Case

In Morris v Williams & Co Solicitors, 134 claimants are suing their former solicitors for professional negligence. The alleged breach of duty relates to legal advice on purchasing off-plan units by the same development group. Williams & Co. acted for all claimants on identical terms, all of whom lost money because of their investments. Alleging the firm failed to advise them properly, its former clients have launched a group action and issued a single claim form against the solicitors.

Williams & Co. applied to strike out the claim. It argued that each professional negligence case is unique and depends on the specific advice given to the individual client involved. As such, a decision in one case would not apply to another.

The Court dismissed the appeal, stating that it found significant common issues in the cases despite individual factors such as reliance and advice from other professionals. You can learn more about the case and the specific legal arguments involved here.

The Court of Appeal’s decision is a victory for individuals who want to seek redress via group litigation. Not least because:

  • It shows a willingness by the English courts to ensure access to justice in large-scale litigation is not hampered by procedural complexities
  • It makes it even easier for claimants to bring group claims, even where some differences between claims exist (it is not essential to establish ‘commonality’)

What does Morris v. Williams & Co mean for solicitors?

Following the case, group action lawyers should consider the following:

The use of GLOs

The Court was clear that its decision should not discourage the use of Group Litigation Orders (GLOs), which it described as a “very useful and desirable procedure in many cases.” Instead, the Court urged lawyers starting cases involving multiple claimants to consider the appropriateness of GLOs, which have various advantages in multi-party litigation.

Common issues

When deciding whether to use a single (omnibus) claim form, solicitors should establish what unites the individual claims and whether these features make a single set of proceedings convenient. The fact that claims might be different does not prohibit using a single form, but it should not be used as a procedural shortcut.


In the UK, group claims are becoming common across various industries, addressing different types of alleged wrongdoing. An increasingly accessible and fair legal system and a growing acceptance of group claims as a means of redress can only help consumers and their legal representatives in their fight for justice. As such, the latest decision by the Court of Appeal is very welcome.

We’ve spent over a decade in the trenches, uniting law firms and individuals to ensure powerful group action claims. Having built solid relationships with some of the best law firms in the UK, we’re expanding our network. As one of the UK’s most trusted lead generators, if you’re interested in partnering with us, please get in touch at [email protected]

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