The Memo: Mishcon de Reya acquires stake in global group action management company

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UK class action lawsuits: Mishcon de Reya acquires stake in global group action management company

Erin Bradbury – 19 February 2024

The last few years have seen a rapid rise in class actions in the UK, to such an extent that these kinds of cases can no longer be understood as a trend exclusive to the US legal market. Actions relating to the likes of antitrust, product liability, employment, personal injury, and (increasingly) ESG and data breach related claims, exist within our legal landscape now. As a simple overview, here in the UK, we have ‘opt-in claims’ where claimant must consent to join the action and be considered a member of the class (if ‘opt-in’ claims interest you, the HM Courts & Tribunal Services publishes a list). Changes to our legal framework in 2015 saw the introduction of ‘opt-out’ claims, where an action can be pursued on behalf of a class with no expressed mandate or named class. This combination is arguably where the growth in litigation funding by third parties and the emergence of litigation claimant focused law firms has evolved from in the UK.

Just this month, it was announced that Mishcon de Reya - who already have an established presence for their large claimant and defendant group actions work - have aquired a majority stake in a global group action management company, Somos (founded in 2019), which oversees group actions from their inception. Alongside this, the firm is admitting Somos’ two founders as equity partners into the dispute resolution department. Somos oversees the marketing aspect, onboarding of claimants, preparing court-related materials and the distribution of any proceeds awarded.

On the firm’s website, partner and chair of dispute resolution at Mishcon, Hugo Plowman released a statement that said: "By acquiring a majority stake in Somos, we will be able to complement the services we already provide with an industry-leading capability to develop, manage and execute the largest and most complex group actions ever seen in the UK.”