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Lovells enters the class action fray

UK - Lovells, the UK pensions law specialist, is creating its own class action unit to support European pension funds seeking securities class actions.

A statement issued by the legal practice said it is now forming a team of disputes resolution lawyers from its main European offices as well as calling on expertise from its US operations, to give clients a "contact point"and keep a watching brief on legislative and case developments.

Lovells has sought to keep clients up-to-date with developments in this space over the last three years through a series of client bulletins and seminar roadshows.

However, there has been a significant growth in the number of European pension funds getting involved  in - mainly US-based - compensation cases against listed corporations over the last 12 months, so the firm feels it needs to develop a specialist team to cope with the increasing interest.

A spokeswoman for Lovells said the division is expecting to work in defence of corporates but anticipates it will also act to support pension funds seeking plaintiff status.

There has been a flurry of specialist US claimant legal firms setting up base in London in recent months - including the likes of Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll (CMHT) - and regulatory reforms are being introduced in Europe which could soon make it easier for collective redress procedures to be taken up in the same way as they have in the United States.

And while group litigation is still in its infancy in Europe compared with the US, according to Neil Mirchandani, a London dispute resolution partner and coordinator of the new unit at Lovells, the Royal Dutch Shell case of earlier this year is one example of the cases which could arise in Europe.

"The formation of the Class Actions Unit comes at a time when a number of continental European jurisdictions have implemented or are considering litigation to introduce new group litigation procedures. It offers a coordinated cross-jurisdiction and practice area team able to provide experienced strategic and technical legal advice wherever and whenever an issue arises," said Mirchandani.

Lovells' team has class action legal representatives in France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, the UK and US

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