Class Actions

We specialise in bringing class actions against entities that have caused harm to small or large groups of people.

If many people have been harmed by one entity, each individual may not have the resources to fight the (usually) big corporation that caused the harm. For example, if you worked in a factory that had poor working conditions that led to many workers getting sick or injured, you may all have a claim against the company. Bringing a case against the company together may be better than trying to get justice alone. There is strength in numbers.

Our experience in this field includes expertise from the United States and Canada, including intimate knowledge of how class actions are conducted in those jurisdictions. This understanding is useful in the South African context, because the law on class actions in South Africa is still being developed.

The use of class actions to litigate large claims is gaining ground in South Africa. Landmark court rulings as well as various legislation have provided a framework to bring class action lawsuits locally. With our international and local experience, we bring a depth of knowledge and expertise into class action matters.

We can advise you on the stages involved in bringing a class action and the various options for funding such a case.

We are experienced in managing the complexities of this type of action, which includes legal know-how in many areas of the law, bringing the group together, and providing practical guidance on the administration of the case. Our tech-savvy team will ensure the proper management of these complex cases.

Finally, in most class action cases, LHL offers its services on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t pay unless we win.

We are able to advise on many types of class action claims, for example:

Competition class actions, including price-fixing and abuse of dominance

Companies are supposed to compete with each other to get customers, and this benefits society because competition helps to keep prices relatively low. However, sometimes companies in an industry illegally agree to fix the price so that they all make more money by charging customers higher prices than they normally would if they were competing fairly. In other cases, if there is only one company, or one main company dominating a specific market, they may abuse that dominance to the detriment of consumers.

There is already a local example of a price-fixing matter that has been dealt with as a class action in South Africa. A number of bread producers came together in a cartel to fix the price of bread, making it more expensive than it would have been if the producers competed with each other fairly. The class of people affected by the increased cost of bread came together to get compensation for their losses. It is easy to see how thousands if not millions of people would be affected by the price of bread. It would be difficult for each person to bring an individual case against these large corporations, but together, they had the joint power to bring the price-fixing problem to light.

Product liability class actions

Consumers are entitled to products that are safe to use.

If a large number of customers buy a product that ends up causing harm, they can potentially come together to claim compensation from the company. This makes economic sense, because it allows individual consumers to fight large corporations. An example of this would be if a product is recalled – in this case it would be easier to show that the product has caused damage. Our lawyers and professionals possess a depth of experience that allows us to investigate your potential claim to determine whether we can prove that the harm was caused by a defective product.

If you have a claim, we can help in bringing the class together, managing the litigation and fighting the claim from start to finish.

Consumer protection class actions

Apart from product liability, and the right of consumers to receive safe goods that are not defective, consumers also have many rights in terms of receiving services that live up to their expectations. If you believe you have received a service that has not lived up to what it was promised to be, contacts us to see if you have a possible claim against that service provider.

Securities class actions

If a group of people have invested in a company which is involved in non or misleading disclosure of important information, securities fraud or other unlawful activities, you may have a class action claim against the company for compensation for your losses. Our expert litigation team will work with our commercial and financial regulatory law experts to ensure that the claim is managed in a way that maximises the outcome for the class. We believe strongly in upholding ethical standards and fiduciary duties of directors in the private equity and listed space, as well as the duties of financial advisors and institutions, particularly in South Africa, where many may not be well-versed in the requirements of transparency and reporting standards of companies. Let us help to ensure that unscrupulous schemes, market abuse and misleading prospectuses or company forecasts do not occur at your expense.

Pharmaceutical class actions

Pharmaceutical companies have an obligation to ensure that they only put safe drugs and medicines on the market. Unfortunately, in the rush to market, some medicines and devices may not have been properly tested, and they may cause harm to the potentially thousands of people who use that drug.

Our team is skilled in aspects of class action lawsuits, medical malpractice, and related areas of the law, so we can ensure that any pharmaceutical related class action will be managed well.

Get in touch with our lawyers if you believe that you have a claim related to any pharmaceutical medicine or device. We are proud to give a voice to those who might otherwise not be able to fight against big corporations.

Labour related class actions

South Africa has a detailed legal framework providing for the fair treatment of employees. If a large employer violates these codes, the whole group of employees affected by these actions may claim together to obtain compensation for any losses or damages that they have suffered.

Our lawyers are well-equipped to manage these types of cases, drawing on our deep knowledge of labour law and class actions, merging our expertise across these legal fields to seek a fair and just outcome for all employees.

We believe that the protection of employee rights is vital to the proper functioning of the South African economy, and we hope to balance the unequal bargaining power usually present between employers and employees.