Victims of the Volkswagen (VW) emissions scandal can sue for damages in the country in which they purchased their vehicle.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled, on Thursday, against rather than victims having to go to Germany where VW is based.
The ruling relates to a pending class action brought by a consumer-protection association representing 574 VW customers before the Klagenfurt Regional Court in Austria.
The court asked the ECJ to clarify whether it had jurisdiction on the matter, given that claims normally have to be brought in the country in which the defendant has their registered office or domicile.
In response, the judges in Luxembourg ruled that in such cases an exception should be made to the usual jurisdiction rules.
The damages occurred in Austria, the judges found, and a carmaker that makes an unlawful manipulation in the construction of its vehicles can reasonably expect to be sued in the country where it sells them.
“The damage suffered by the purchaser occurs in the EU Member State in which he purchases the vehicle for a price higher than its actual value,’’ the court said in a statement on the ruling.
The decision sets an important precedent for customers who bought vehicles fitted with devices able to cheat on emissions tests.
This is a scandal that has rocked VW and the broader automotive industry since September 2015.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
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