Should a group action get to court, we may ask our clients to sign a Litigation Management Agreement (LMA). A LMA sets out how we will manage the court case on behalf of our clients. In this quick guide, we explain more about LMAs, and what clients agree to when they sign.
A Litigation Management Agreement (LMA) is a legal agreement between you, your lawyers, and all the other claimants in the group action. It helps to ensure that your case is managed in the most cost-effective, and least troublesome way to you.
The LMA establishes a committee – authorised by all claimants – to sign court documents and approve key steps on behalf of you all. The creation of a committee is routine in group actions of this kind.
Claimants must review and sign several documents in a group action. But, getting hundreds (or sometimes thousands) of people to sign paperwork and forms individually can be a time consuming, frustrating and costly task.
With a LMA, the entire group authorises a committee of claimants to sign all the court documents and approve all the critical steps on behalf of everyone involved. This ensures that the case progresses without delay and helps to achieve the best outcome possible for the group as a whole.
Before sending you a LMA to sign, your group action lawyer will review each individual case in a multi-claimant action and allocate claimants to subset groups. For instance, depending on the group action, claimants might be classified as follows:
The committee might consist of one representative from each group.
 For example only, each group action will involve different groups of claimants.
*With the exception of our success fee.
The LMA also sets out some additional terms of agreement. These include:
The LMA explains that each claimant has authorised us (their lawyer) to act on their behalf and that we will make an application for a Group Litigation Order (GLO). A GLO is an order of the court in England and Wales. It allows people who have suffered common or related issues to have their cases managed collectively via a group action.
Once the GLO is established, a formal Group Register will be set up. This Register will contain the details of each individual claimant in the action. However, not every claimant will need to go to court. Instead, the group action will proceed to trial via a lead case (also known as a test case). All claimants on the Group Register will be bound by the outcome of this lead case.
The LMA explains that there are risks involved in pursuing claims in a collective manner. Ensuring confidentiality when there are lots of people involved is one such risk.
As such, the LMA explains that we (as their lawyer) may exercise a degree of judgment when communicating with the group to ensure that sensitive information does not end up in the public domain (and therefore hurt the group action case).
It also places some specific obligations and responsibilities on claimants. Both in relation to their single claim and to the group as a whole. For example:
Should a claimant breach the confidentiality of another individual, the lawyer cannot be held liable for breach of solicitor-client privilege.
With a group action, everyone has a common goal. And, the LMA binds everyone to act in good faith to ensure there are no delays or damage to the group as a whole. This means that each claimant must:
The LMA provides information on the potential costs involved in the group action. To clarify:
The LMA provides information on the potential settlement of claims. It explains that:
Absolutely! The LMA helps us to manage the common aspects of the claim on behalf of the entire group (and to ensure a hassle-free claim process). But we remain on hand to discuss your case.