Shieldpay and Case Pilots join forces in “marriage made in heaven” for UK class action lawyers  

In a move described by one of the UK’s leading class action partner as “a marriage made in heaven,” Shieldpay today (12 October) announced a deal under which it will integrate its digital mass disbursements payment service into Case Pilots’ group action administration platform. The integration will mean that law firms can use Case Pilots to both manage claims and pay out compensation awards for opt-in and opt-out cases across the UK and Europe.  

David Greene, senior partner and head of class action and finance litigation at UK law firm Edwin Coe welcomed the partnership between Shieldpay and Case Pilots, telling Legal IT Insider: “This is a marriage made in heaven. It is great news for those undertaking class actions because the merged unit produces a one stop shop for all the class action processes, from the construction of the claim, through to book building, to administration of the class, settlement and distribution. Most importantly this is a merger of two experienced and well-resourced teams from Shieldpay and Case Pilots”

Clare Ducksbury, CEO of Case Pilots, added: “This first of its kind partnership is pushing the industry forward into a new era, one that is well overdue and absolutely essential to meet the new demands of the changing collective action regime across the world.” 

The UK paved the way for group actions in 2015 in the Consumer Rights Act. However, the turning point was really the landmark Supreme Court decision in Mastercard v Merricks, which in December 2020 dismissed Mastercard’s appeal against a class action alleging that Mastercard infringed EU competition law by imposing unfair fees for the use of credit and debit cards. Mastercard denies the claims. 

Other UK class actions include a £768m claim issued on 17 June this year by ‘consumer champion’ Justin Gutmann against Apple, on behalf of at least 26 million UK iPhone users, alleging that Apple abused its market dominance and engaged in unfair commercial practices by concealing the fact that some models of iPhones contained defective lithium-ion batteries and continued to push system updates that pushed the affected phones beyond the capabilities of their batteries.  

In May this year, the Court of Appeal upheld a decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal to grant an opt-out Collective Proceedings Order against BT Group on behalf of around 2.3 million customers. The Competition Appeal Tribunal had allowed the action brought by telecoms consultant Justin Le Patourel on behalf of purchasers of Standalone Fixed Voice services (SFVs), alleging that that BT has abused its dominant position, after UK communications regulator Ofcom found that BT set its SFVs prices above a competitive level. 

Both Apple and BT deny the claims.