UCL Faculty of Laws


Dr John Sorabji cited in Supreme Court judgment blocking legal action against Google

12 November 2021

The judgment concerns whether the representative action under the Civil Procedure Rules can be used to prosecute claims against Google.

Publications by Dr John Sorabji (Lecturer (Teaching) at UCL Laws) have been cited in a recent Supreme Court ruling, Lloyd (Respondent) v Google LLC (Appellant).

The claim alleges that Google secretly tracked the internet activity of millions of iPhone users and used this data for commercial purposes without their consent; and sought to extend Britain's class action regime to include compensation claims for data misuse. On Wednesday 10 November, the UK Supreme Court held that the representative action could not be used in the circumstances of this case.

Dr Sorabji was cited in respect of the history and development of the representative action by reference to an article published in the Civil Justice Quarterly, ‘The hidden class action in English civil procedure’.

The judgment will likely provide the basis for the reinvigoration of the representative action, even though it does not apply to the facts in the case. It is also likely to serve as a basis for possible legislative reform to introduce a more effective form of class action, as was recommended in a Civil Justice Council report in 2007. Dr Sorabji was a major contributor to the report (‘Improving Access to Justice through Collective Actions’), which was also cited in the judgment.