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Diesel Emissions Claim Guide

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: May 24, 2022
8 minutes read

If you've been the owner of a diesel car or van in England or Wales that was made between 2007 and 2018, you may be eligible to join a group legal claim over emissions and that’s even if you owned it outright or bought it on finance. The emission scandal otherwise known as ‘dieselgate’ saw hundreds of thousands of people being mis-sold vehicles and law firms suggest you could be due £1,000s in compensation.

Close up of car exhaust with smoke coming out

What Is A Diesel Emissions Claim?

In 2015, Volkswagen were found to have installed ‘defeat devices’ into their vehicles.

These are also commonly known as ‘cheat devices’ and are fitted into diesel vehicles to falsify emissions levels by using test conditions to pass regulatory checks. This device would recognise when the vehicle was being tested and would decrease the emissions output when in reality, the emissions were up to 40 times higher when driving in normal everyday conditions.

An emission claim is therefore based on the fact that you, the customer, were given false information. Not only did the company mislead you on the emissions of the vehicle but the environment has suffered significantly more as a result.

The emissions claim looks to recover UK customers compensation from the car manufacturer for potential breaches of consumer protection laws, contract violations and failure to uphold the Competition Act.

How Much Compensation Can I Receive For My Emissions Claim?

Many of the vehicle emission claims are still being looked into and a set compensation amount has yet to be made. However, VW will make a payment of £193 million to the 91,000 claimants and a separate contribution being made by VW towards the claimants' legal costs and other fees.

Benefits of Making An Emissions Claim

Apart from gaining you compensation, here are a few other benefits of making an emissions claim:

Good For The Environment

Car manufacturers such as Volkswagen lied about a dangerous pollutant – NOx which is responsible for a number of environmental risks such as acid rain, global warming, smog and the deterioration of the ozone layer.

Therefore more claims will encourage car manufacturers not to follow suit and start putting your health and the planets above financial gain


Manufacturers tried to deny their involvement in the scandal with cover ups. Therefore making an emission claim sends a message that companies cannot treat their customers unfairly and that no company, no matter how big or small, is above the law.

Financial Reimbursement

Clients who were mis-sold may have suffered damages as a result. If people have a valid claim they may be able to make a claim for thousands in compensation.

Protecting Your Health

Traffic pollution can be the cause of hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year. Particularly NOx which can cause respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis, coughing and wheezing.

It is not just the environment we need to protect but also your health.

Zero Risk

Usually, emissions solicitors work on a No Win, No Fee basis so making a claim will not cost you anything in legal fees if you are unsuccessful.

How To Make A Claim

Usually, this type of claim requires technical expert opinion to establish facts, if you do want to make a claim, we advise joining up with a legal group as it may be the only viable option. The VW case for example, the High Court granted a ‘group litigation order’ meaning all the claimants were grouped together under one case.

How Long Does It Take?

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how long the process would take but we can timeline the biggest case which is against the VW group who owns Audi, Seat, Skoda and VW brands. Reports of ‘defeat devices’ came into light around 2015 and legal action was brought forward in May 2018.

The High Court granted a ‘group litigation order’ to the lawyers representing over 90,000 vehicle owners in England and Wales. This means that all the claims made were to be managed together.

In April 2020, following an initial hearing, the High Court ruled VW had installed ‘defeat devices’ into certain types of VW diesel engines ‘EA189’ which are used in various Audi, Skoda, Seat and VW vehicles.

This device would allow engines to recognise when it was being tested for compliance with NOx emissions and have the ability to reduce their emissions while being tested. The engine would then produce high levels of emissions in normal driving conditions on the road.

The case was then settled in May 2022 for £193 million along with VW Group also making a separate contribution to claimants' legal costs.

It's not clear how much individual claimants will get after all fees and costs are deducted as the law firms involved say this is confidential due to the terms of the settlement.

While the original VW claim has now concluded, owners of other Audi, Seat, Skoda and VW vehicles may be able to sign up to different group actions.

Law firms are encouraging customers of many other brands to register their interest in potential claims, and say that hundreds of thousands of vehicles could be affected by similar emissions issues.

Everything you need to know about your VW emissions claim.


Like many of the hundreds of thousands of people out there, if you feel as if you were given false information at the time of purchase, then you should seek legal help to make a claim.

Hopefully, this guide has now encouraged you to make an informed decision as to whether you may be viable to make a claim.

If you’d like to know more, you can enter a few details and one of our experts will be in touch with you shortly.