A £14 billion class action lawsuit against Mastercard interchange fees has moved a step closer to trial with an additional £2.7 billion added to the claim following the latest judgement by the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal.
The CAT has ruled that former head of the UK Financial Ombudsman Service Walter Merricks can represent every class member who was alive on 6 September 2016, and has since died in the ongoing litigation.
This follows an August ruling that gave Merrick the go-ahead to sue Mastercard on behalf of 46 million claimants in the case, who would receive around £300 each if successful.
On the CAT’s estimates, the latest judgement means over three million claims are preserved. Mastercard had tried to prevent them from being included as part of its lengthy attempt at opposing certification.
The CAT also allowed Merricks to plead a higher interest rate of 5% above the prevailing Bank of England rate, and on current estimates, this could add up to £2.7bn pounds to the £14bn claim.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher partner Boris Bronfentrinker says: “This brings to a conclusion the one final outstanding issue that needed to be resolved, and we now expect the Collective Proceedings Order (CPO) to be made in the course of next week. As for the ruling itself, it is satisfying to see that Mastercard’s attempts to try and limit the ability of UK consumers to recover have once again been rejected.
" We are also pleased that the Tribunal allowed us to amend the claim to increase the amount of interest claimed based on a higher percentage that more accurately reflects real borrowing costs, disagreeing with Mastercard’s objections. In the end, for all of Mastercard’s objections to the collective proceedings, they have simply served to delay matters and thereby increase significantly their liability for interest to the class and the amount of overall damages sought.’
Merricks says the next hearing is expected to be in the CAT at the end of July where his legal representatives will aim to get a timetable to trial by having Mastercard hand over disclosure documents, followed by written witness and expert evidence.