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Eighteen firms win fight against MoD group claim


It has been reported this week that the High Court has rejected an application by Hugh James solicitors for a group litigation order after facing the wrath of 18 claimant law firms.

Hugh James solicitors had applied to the court to group together noise-induced hearing loss claims on behalf of members of the armed forces.  The MoD supported the application but this met with some resistance from 18 claimant firms who opposed the grant of a GLO.

The main procedural mechanism for group litigation (GLO) CPR 19.10 provides that a GLO:

means an order made under CPR 19.11 to provide for the case management of claims which give rise to common or related issues of fact of law’.

Last month Mr Justice Garnham ruled in Abbott v Ors v Ministry of Defence that Hugh James had failed to meet the threshold for a group litigation order. 

The 18 opposing firms submitted that Hugh James had not been able to identify the issues and the court could not be satisfied that there were common issues at stake.

Mr Justice Garnham said granting an order would have the effect of “severely limiting the access to justice” of a further 5,000 claimants represented by the other firms.

Although it is clear that there are large numbers of people who may have been affected by the defendant’s conduct it is difficult to see how the application could have succeeded because there would inevitably have been different injuries, occurring on different dates and at different locations.

Furthermore, most of the claimants will have After the Event insurance in place, which in the majority of cases would not cover a GLO and this could have the effect of further restricting access to justice with claimants not wishing to pursue their claims without the benefit of cover for adverse costs and disbursements.


Here at Box Legal we have been offering after the event legal expense insurance since 2004 and have a wealth of experience. We have competitively priced ATE insurance policies available for all types of personal injury claims and can also arrange legal expense insurance cover for non-personal injury claims such as housing disrepair and financial mis-selling matters.

The number and variety of cases we arrange cover for is always increasing and so please contact us to discuss any after the event insurance requirements. We are happy to discuss and develop ATE insurance for case types we do not already insure.

If you would like to speak to us or obtain further information then please call on 0870 766 9997, or email

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