Volkswagen accused of treating Australia as a “backwater”
29 April 2016
Volkswagen has been slammed in the Federal Court today for its conduct in the Australian dieselgate emissions cheating class action, in which Maurice Blackburn is seeking to protect and compensate around 100,000 affected Australian motorists.
The Court paid little heed to excuses made by the German parent companies for not complying with previously made Court orders, and threatened to enter default judgment against the companies if they failed to comply with orders made today.
Justice Foster did not hide his frustration with the behaviour of VW, lambasting them for leaving a distinct impression that VW thinks Australia is backwater, not a longstanding democracy with a highly sophisticated judicial system.
Principal leading the class action for Maurice Blackburn, Jason Geisker, said it was an emphatic dressing down commensurate with the complete lack of regard Volkswagen had shown towards trying to deliver a meaningful resolution to Australian motorists.
“Actions speak louder than words. Volkswagen's statements of remorse and contrition about the dieselgate scandal mean little given that the Court has today highlighted VW’s conduct as little more than a deliberate attempt to stall the Court process and in turn, delay a real solution for Australian motorists,” Mr Geisker said.
“Australian motorists that want to give themselves the best chance of protection against being left with an unregisterable and potentially worthless vehicle, should register with Maurice Blackburn to ensure they get the best representation possible.”
The class actions regime allows affected motorists to join at no personal cost or risk, and ensure that they maximise their chances of being properly compensated upon a successful outcome. Registration can be done online at www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/volkswagen.
Justice Foster vacated the listing for another hearing on 10 May, giving VW until 27 May to answer the outstanding technical questions contained in his previous orders before the case can progress, or as he warned, resolve via a default judgment.
Justice Foster also demanded that the experts from Australia, California and Germany meet face to face at VW’s cost – potentially in Germany if the VW German experts won’t spare the time to travel to Australia.
In the meantime, Mr Geisker says Australian motorists are still running polluting vehicles with no solution in sight and they are holding vehicles that as per media reports today, pose the real risk of receiving fines or deregistration by regulatory bodies, such as VicRoads.