Around 300 rugby players will have to wait until next year to see if they can bring a group action against the sport’s governing bodies in relation to compensation claims for brain injuries.
A hearing took place at the Royal Courts of Justice last week in relation to an application by the claimants for a group litigation order (GLO) in relation to claims against World Rugby Limited, Welsh Rugby Union Limited and Rugby Football Union.
A group litigation order is an order of a court in England and Wales, which permits a number of claims which give rise to common or related issues (of fact or law) to be managed collectively.
The group litigation order in this matter relates to claims issued in respect of concussive and sub-concussive injuries leading to permanent long-term damage in playing rugby.
The court heard that there were now four claim forms covering 295 players and that more players were approaching the claimants’ solicitors.
After hearing submissions, Master Cook said it would be ‘premature’ to order a group litigation order at this stage.
The next hearing will be in late April or early May.
Master Cook said: “By the time we’re all back here today, there will be case management and there will be resolution to some of the issues. Whether it’s a group of cases let loose into the wide world or whether it is coordinated or chaperoned or part of a formal GLO, it’s going to happen – but it must happen in an orderly way and in a way that’s proportionate and not demanding of the court’s resources.
“I’m acutely aware of how long this has been in gestation. I’m acutely aware of each of the position of the claimants. These issues are going to be resolved – there’s no doubt about that. However, it has to be resolved on the basis of a collaborative approach between the parties, and the parties and the court.”