French car companies fail to stall emissions cheating case

June 11, 2024

A High Court judgment today rejected claims from French car companies Peugeot Citroën and Renault that they could not cooperate with a court case against them in England for emissions cheating because of a French law.

Peugeot Citroën and Renault emissions case

The judgment, by Judge Mrs Justice Cockerill was handed down this morning. It is the latest judgment from the Court that goes in favour of the claimants related to a suite of 13 ongoing cases against car manufacturers over alleged emissions test cheating.

The dieselgate scandal in the US broke in 2015. VW was found to be cheating emissions tests, which, according to lawyers was the tip of the iceberg.

At Pogust Goodhead, our lawyers, who are representing what is likely to be more than one million claimants in England and Wales, say that this cheating appears to be industry-wide and not limited to the US. They add that the cheating contributed heavily to a public health crisis across the UK.

‘French Blocking Statute’

Peugeot Citroën and Renault had claimed that something commonly called the ‘French Blocking Statute’ prevented them from revealing information required in the English claim. They said that by providing this information in the usual way, they would risk criminal prosecution.

If they had been successful, it would have meant lawyers acting on behalf of claimants alleging emissions cheating by the two companies would have been at the mercy of a highly bureaucratic system. This would have caused huge delays to the progress of the litigation and potentially restricted the information to be disclosed.

At Pogust Goodhead, we are the lead or co-lead law firm in the largest number of emissions cases. This includes those brought against Peugeot Citroën and Renault.

Pogust Goodhead comment

“We are one step closer to justice for our clients. This judgment has thankfully avoided a terrible situation where French law could have dictated what was happening in an English court.”

“We will continue to progress these cases as quickly as possible, despite all the delay tactics and obstacles thrown in our way, in order to hold Peugeot Citroën and Renault accountable for misleading our clients and selling vehicles which unlawfully polluted our air.”

The Pan-NOx cases, as they are known, continue this week. There is a three-day High Court hearing on costs. The hearing will reveal how much the car companies are wasting on wealthy lawyers to defend the case against them. This is instead of settling with the claimants, who bought or leased their vehicles in good faith.

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