On 17 October 2023, the Competition Appeal Tribunal approved the consolidation of two applications for a collective proceedings order against Google, thereby avoiding a carriage dispute. The two proceedings concerned Google’s conduct in the ad tech sector and sought substantial damages on behalf of publishers. The proposed class representatives, Mr Arthur and Mr Pollack, agreed to consolidate their applications following negotiations between themselves and their teams, including their funders and insurers, and this step has now been approved by the CAT, subject to certification of the claims which the CAT will decide next year. The consolidated application will be pursued by Ad Tech Collective Action LLP, of which both the individual representatives are members, along with Kate Wellington. This is the first time in the UK that a carriage dispute has been resolved through a negotiated settlement, though the practice is common in other countries such as Canada that have class action regimes.
Gerry Facenna KC, Julian Gregory, Alison Berridge and Nik Grubeck represent Ad Tech Collective Action LLP, instructed by Hausfeld & Co. LLP, Humphries Kerstetter LLP and Geradin Partners Limited. The consolidated claim is being funded by Fortress. Meredith Pickford KC represents Google, instructed by Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.