Barings Law Newsletter – November 2023

Read this quarter’s Barings Law newsletter to keep updated with our claim progression and any business updates. Make this your one-stop resource for everything you need to know.

We are thrilled to bring you the latest edition of our newsletter and to share some of the remarkable strides we have made in the legal landscape since our last update. From immigration challenges to data breach cases, our dedicated team have continued to work tirelessly to secure justice for all of our clients. 

This newsletter is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to pursuing justice for each individual we represent. As we share stories of triumph and legal victories, we hope you find inspiration in the positive impact our collective efforts have had on the lives of those we serve.

Once again, we thank you for entrusting us with your legal needs. Your support and feedback mean a great deal to us as we continue to fight for your legal rights. 

Important Claim Updates

Barings Law is continuing to progress the Motor Vehicle Finance Undisclosed Commission claims after having attended a hearing in November this year. There, the Birmingham court adjudged that the claims should proceed in the traditional format as opposed to group action. 

We have since been given permission to appeal that decision, and we anticipate the appeal to be heard in the first quarter of 2024.

The firm continues to make complaints to the finance providers regarding the affordability of client finance agreements. Such complaints centre on whether a proper credit check was carried out by the finance provider as well as if the client could keep up with their payments during the term of their agreement.

With the affordability complaints, we are pleased to announce we have obtained settlements for a number of clients from several household finance providers. Clients successful in bringing this complaint have received a full refund on their charge for credit on the finance agreement, as well as interest on the amount.

Capita
We have been pursuing this matter on behalf of more than 4,000 clients and have taken the necessary steps to present a compelling case. We previously sent an extensive Letter of Claim (LOC) outlining our clients’ claim to Capita. However, Capita has denied liability in this matter. 

Despite Capita’s denial, we are fully committed to pursuing this claim to the fullest extent of the law. To this end, we have retained a leading Kings Counsel to assist in building and presenting a strong case. Our goal is to move this case forward towards issuing court proceedings in the High Court. We anticipate that the claim will be issued within the next 2 to 4 weeks. 

If you have submitted your evidence and received a confirmation email of completion, please note that we will not be contacting claimants individually until we have a further update on the claim. If you have any questions or wish to provide us with further information, please contact our customer service team on 0161 200 9960 or via our online webchat, and they will be able to assist you. 

South Staffs Water

We are currently still in ongoing communications with the defendant’s solicitor, DWF, to establish liability and argue an appropriate settlement on behalf of our clients. At this stage, SSW has not yet accepted or rejected our claim; therefore, it is too early for us to comment on whether the matter will be settled before court or if we will have to issue this claim in court. The defendant initially had three months to investigate this matter; this time frame has now passed, leaving us to send follow-up communications for a response to our Letter of Claim (LOC). 

Arnold Clark

The defendants are in the process of investigating the data breach, and we are anticipating their forthcoming communication with further details. The expected duration of their response is likely to take several months.

FatFace LTD

We are currently awaiting the conclusive report from the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office). Once this is complete, we will be able to establish the strongest argument for our clients and determine if we will have to issue the case to court. 

DSG Limited (Now trading as Currys Group)

The High Court recently received a second mass claim against Currys Group over a 2018 data breach, with nearly 800 claimants seeking compensation of up to five million pounds. We remain steadfast in our pursuit of justice for the affected individuals. Currys Group has dismissed the lawsuit as “premature” and asserts its intention to defend itself vigorously. We will continue to provide regular updates as we navigate this complex legal landscape. 

Progress

We are currently in the Pre-Action communication stage (a phase in the legal process where parties involved in a potential dispute engage in early communication, exchange information, and explore avenues for resolution before formal legal proceedings). 

Once we have liaised with the defendant’s solicitors, we will establish our clients claims in the strongest way possible. 

Carphone Warehouse (Now trading as Currys Retail Limited)

On October 27, 2023, the judge granted Barings Law permission to amend the Particulars of Claim. Presently, we are awaiting the defendant’s service of the amended defence. 

The recent successful case of London International Exhibition Centre Plc & others v. Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Plc & others, in which Barings Law represented six claimants, was the landmark High Court case and the highlight of 2023 for Business Interruption. 

The judgement in the test case was handed down on June 16, 2023, and was held in favour of policyholders, which determined how “at the premises” policy wording is triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the evidential burden of proof required to bring such cases. 

The overarching implications of the test case on the insurance industry, unsurprisingly, has led to the insurers appealing against the High Court decision challenging causation. The appeal has been listed for June 18, 2024. The appeal hearing will involve reviewing both the insurers’ appeals and the policyholders’ cross-appeals.

Another challenging case handled by Barings Law is the case of Bellini (NE) Limited v. Brit UW Limited. The issues to be determined were the policy construction and the definition of “damage.” The initial decision was in favour of the insurers, and the court held that the meaning of “damage” within the policy means “physical damage only,” resulting in the client not being able to recover their financial losses as a result of the pandemic. Barings Law made an application to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal against this decision on the grounds that the policy becomes “illusory” under such a narrow interpretation. Permission to appeal has been granted, and the appeal is due to be listed for March and April 2024.

This case further highlights the particularly challenging terrain in which the insurance lawyers are navigating, with many obstacles to overcome. 

Many of our clients embarked on their claims for losses under their insurance policies as far back as the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. In recognising the hardships faced by our clients and the potential injustices arising from delays, Barings Law felt compelled to take action. During August and September, we filed circa 1,200 insurance cases across more than 70 claims with the Commercial Court, with most of these involving multiple claimants. Across all the actions, more than 25 insurers are named as defendants, namely RSA, AXA, HDI Global, Ageas, Allianz, QIC, Covéa, Liberty Mutual, Arch, and delegated authority-specialist Lloyd’s syndicate DTW 1991. Among the businesses on whose behalf we have issued court proceedings are pubs, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, takeaways, hairdressers, and leisure facility operators.

The current increased litigation is against the backdrop of several other cases that are currently awaiting judgments or further appeal determinations, including the cases of Various Eateries Trading Limited (formerly known as Strada Trading Limited) v. Allianz Insurance plc, London International Exhibition Centre Plc & others v. Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Plc & others, and multiple actions against Liberty Mutual on the non-damage denial of access clauses.

The recent settlement of the case of Stonegate Pub Company Limited v. MS Amlin Corporate Member Limited and others unfortunately left an unresolved issue of furlough and multiple triggers, which largely ought to be determined by the other cases currently being considered by the courts.

The landscape of business interruption claims in the UK remains intricate and continues to evolve. Recent judgments, such as the Supreme Court (The Financial Conduct Authority v. Arch Insurance (UK) Ltd,  Corbin and King Ltd v AXA Insurance UK Plc and Stonegate Pub Company Limited v. MS Amlin Corporate Member Limited and others, have provided valuable insights, yet uncertainties persist, leading to ongoing legal battles and challenges. The industry eagerly awaits outcomes, and the issues arising out of the ambiguity of the policy of insurance contracts are being resolved one by one in the hope of leaving a much clearer framework for those whose cases are yet to be resolved. Barings Law welcomes 2024 as the year that brings resolution to many of the policyholder disputes.

We are thrilled to share a recent victory for one of our Tenancy Deposit clients, Garry Musgrove. After pursuing legal action against his landlord and a property agency, we successfully secured twice the amount of the initial deposit. Garry expressed  his gratitude stating, “I was a bit worried about speaking to anyone after how the landlord spoke to me, but Barings Law made me completely at ease. I’m very grateful, and I was so delighted when I found out they won the case. Now I can put that money into my savings.”

In addition to this notable success, we’re pleased to have settled three other cases where landlords failed to protect our client’s deposits. Through skilled negotiations, we were able to reach resolutions without the need to escalate the matter to court. These landlords acknowledged their non-compliance with deposit protection legislation, and we successfully secured fair settlements for our clients.
 
Our commitment to advocating for tenants’ rights and ensuring fair treatment in the rental market remains unwavering. We appreciate the trust our clients place in Barings Law, and we will continue to work diligently to protect their interests.

Building on the progress highlighted in our recent newsletter, Barings Law has made substantial strides in advancing our Undisclosed Commissions claims. We’ve taken dynamic steps by filing multiple claims against a common defendant and actively participating in allocation hearings pertaining to these matters. Given the intricate nature and complexity of these cases, the courts have determined their suitability for allocation to the fast track. This decision arises from the recognition that the value of the claims surpasses the limit of the small claims track, set at £10,000. For cases falling below the specified quantum, we have submitted applications to the court challenging their allocation to the small claims track.

We have also been actively engaged in the negotiation process by making Part 36 offers, and in response, we’ve received settlement offers pertaining to claims involving PPI. This effective exchange underscores our commitment to exploring constructive resolutions and unveils the ongoing dialogue aimed at reaching fair and mutually beneficial settlements in these matters.

Further, the recent landmark rulings in the cases of Smith and another v Royal Bank of Scotland [2023] UKSC 34 and Canada Square Operations Limited (Appellant) v Potter (Respondent) have strengthened the position of Undisclosed Commission claims. These judgements, focusing on appeals relating to crucial undisclosed commission issues such as limitation and “deliberate concealment,” mark a profound shift. We are steadfast in our commitment to discern and apply the implications of these decisions in the upcoming trials scheduled in the ensuing months.

This quarter, the Business Energy team at Barings has been notably active. We’ve successfully issued our claims to court on behalf of our clients against various energy suppliers, with commission disclosures for each claim reaching substantial amounts in the thousands. As both our caseload and team expand, so does our commitment to ensuring the seamless progression of our claims and upholding the standards our clients expect from us.

Our objective is to pursue additional claims in the coming months, seeking to recover the commission unjustly taken from our clients and deliver the justice they deserve.

Legal matters within the Immigration department at Barings have been moving swiftly and with positive results for our clients.

In recent months, Barings Law has secured success in seven out of eight Immigration Bail hearings, some of which were based on grounds of unlawful detention. Immigration Bail is granted to individuals held in Immigration Removal centres, allowing them to continue their asylum application process or any other application such as a Human Rights claim.

We are currently awaiting additional court hearings for further Immigration Bail submissions we have presented.

Furthermore, we are in the process of filing a Human Rights claim. Human Rights claims are submitted when an asylum application is denied, but there are valid grounds for the individual to remain in the United Kingdom. For instance, an example case could be a parent facing unlawful detention without the Home Secretary considering the family ties that they have in the UK. According to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights “Everyone has the right to respect for his [or her] private and family life, his [or her] home and his [or her] correspondence.”

Recognising the intricate and sensitive nature of immigration issues, Barings Law is exploring avenues to seek damages from the Home Office for those who have experienced unlawful detention. Unlawful detention occurs when authorities detain an individual without lawful justification while their application is under consideration.

We are pleased to announce that this quarter we have recovered approximately £176,000 in compensation for clients who have received negligent financial advice in respect of transferring their pension benefits and/or investing in high-risk, unsuitable investments.

Now, more than ever, we have noticed an increase in clients being targeted by sophisticated fraudulent scam artists, who prey on the current social and economic climate and rely on client vulnerabilities to persuade them to transfer one or more of their most valuable assets into unsuitable pension vehicles and high-risk investments and assets.

Due to the complex nature of pension claims and the convoluted methods used by third parties involved in the facilitation of pension transfers, we are continuously developing our processes to ensure that all claims are processed in the most efficient manner possible.

We are in regular communication with third-party organisations such as:

· Financial Services Compensation Scheme (“FSCS”)

· Financial Ombudsman Service (“FOS”)

· The Pensions Ombudsman (“TPO”)

Our contact with the above third parties is vital to ensuring that we are aware of their investigations into failed regulated firms, their response to issues arising within the emerging financial market, and most importantly, their stance and/or requirements in respect of the parameters of their rules and criteria and what evidence they require to accept claims that have been referred to them for further review and consideration.

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Inside Barings Law

Children In Need

As a firm, we are deeply committed to supporting various causes close to our hearts and actively engaging in fundraising efforts for charity organisations. 

Recently, we organised a delightful bake sale as part of our ongoing initiatives to raise vital funds for those in need. Our passionate team contributed by baking a variety of delicious cakes, each crafted with care and creativity. We managed to raise a brilliant £103.22 for Children In Need this year!

Despite our best efforts to exercise restraint in not eating all of the delicious treats our team baked, it proved to be a difficult task. At least we can say it was all for a good cause!

Well done to every one of our bakers and thank you to everyone who purchased for such a good cause.

 

@baringslaw Baking up smiles for a cause! 🍪🍰 Join us behind the scenes of our sweetest mission – turning treats into hope for kids in need 🌟 #BakeForChange #CharityBakesale #Charity #ChildrenInNeed #CIN ♬ original sound - BaringsLaw

If you have any queries relating to your claim, we are available to on 0161 200 9960 or on our webchat (the message icon at the bottom right of the page) between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. 

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