Leigh Day is investigating a potential group claim against BMW over an alleged ‘defeat device’ fitted on some of their cars in order to artificially reduce emissions to pass EU tests.

Monitoring shows that when the vehicles are driven on the road, they emit many times more levels of toxic Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) gases than under test conditions.

This is extremely damaging, as increased levels of NOx contribute to air pollution, which is reported to be the largest environmental risk to UK public health and is linked to as many as 64,000 early deaths a year.

Leigh Day believe that defeat devices are unlawful under UK law and they are planning on bringing legal claims for compensation on behalf of consumers who purchased those vehicles that were affected.

The claims are being investigated on behalf of people who leased or owned BMW diesel vehicles. The claims could be worth up to 75% of the purchase price of the vehicle for each owner.

If you bought or leased a diesel BMW vehicle, your vehicle may be affected and you may be able to apply to join the claim. Please click the ‘CHECK NOW’ button to see if you’re eligible.

Leigh Day are fighting for compensation on behalf of owners of BMW vehicles who we believe were deliberately misled over the environmental performance of their vehicles.

This concerns BMW’s use of alleged ‘defeat devices’ in some of their diesel cars, aimed at artificially reducing NOx emissions to levels which pass regulatory tests.

A number of tests have found that some BMW vehicles were producing NOx emissions that were higher than the permitted levels.  

Leigh Day believe that the ‘defeat devices’ used in the vehicles are unlawful under UK law and consequently, there are potentially hundreds of thousands of unlawfully polluting vehicles still on the roads in the UK.

Leigh Day believe that owners of the affected vehicles should be compensated because they were mis-sold these vehicles, which were advertised as being more environmentally friendly with lower NOx emissions.

Increased levels of nitrogen dioxide emissions are harmful to the environment and to the health of children and adults.

This case is in its early stages, but we expect it to follow the trajectory of the other emissions cases, including VW and Mercedes.

Leigh Day have  secured funding from a litigation funder to ensure they have the resources available to instruct the best experts and barristers and to have a large enough legal team to ensure that our clients get the best service possible.

If you have owned or leased a diesel BMW vehicle since September 2009, it is possible that your vehicle may be affected. Please complete our online vehicle registration checker to confirm whether your vehicle may be affected.

Please click the ‘CHECK NOW’ button to see if you’re eligible.

Complete our form as fully as possible. We will need you to provide us with your vehicle registration number so that we can confirm whether your vehicle is affected.

There are a number of deadlines that may apply to each claim. These will vary depending on the type of claim you are eligible to bring.

Claims have strict time limits and you cannot make a claim once the relevant time limit has passed. We would suggest  completing our form as soon as possible.

You do not need to have any documents to start your claim with Leigh Day.

At some stage they will ask you to provide them with documents regarding the purchase of your vehicle, including, for example, the contract of sale or other proof of purchase, finance agreement and/or lease agreement. If you have these documents, please place them somewhere safe until we request them. Do not worry if you no longer have these documents, Leigh Day will be in touch with details about how to request them.

Leigh Day will be bringing these claims on a ‘No Win-No Fee’ basis under a Damages-Based Agreement (DBA). This means that Leigh Day will deduct up to 30% (exclusive of VAT) of the damages / compensation you receive (the “DBA Payment”) if the claim is successful. The DBA Payment represents Leigh Day’s fee for the work they undertake/incur in acting for you and sharing the financial risk in pursuing your claim on your behalf. At the current rate of VAT of 20% the total amount Leigh Day will deduct from your damages is no more than 36%.

If you are successful in your claim Leigh Day will also deduct from your damages any expenses that they incur during the case such as court fees, travel costs and expert fees which will be in addition to the 30% (exclusive of VAT). However, Leigh Day will also seek to recover our time costs and expenses from the Defendant(s) so that it is highly likely that you will end up paying less than 30% (exclusive of VAT and expenses) overall.

If there were any shortfall in the expenses recovered from the Defendant(s), that shortfall would need to be shared amongst all of the successful Claimants. This means that you would only be liable to pay your individual share of the shortfall, which would be a small percentage of the total because you are bringing your claim with many thousands of others in a group and you benefit from being able to share the shortfall with the group.

For example, if the expenses shortfall were £100,000 in total and there were 10,000 Claimants in the group, each would be responsible for paying £10.

If you do not win your case, you do not have to pay Leigh Day anything, as long as you abide by our funding agreement. 

We have provided a worked example below to illustrate how instructing Leigh Day under a DBA works where Leigh Day are acting under a DBA on the same terms they are offering you in this case.

Client enters into DBA for 30% of damages + VAT + expenses. Client wins their case and receives £10,000 in compensation. Leigh Day also recover from the Defendant £2,000 towards our time costs and expenses


Costs the client is liable to pay Leigh Day:

The DBA fee 30% of £10,000 (damages / compensation):


VAT @ 20%:


Expenses incurred in the case:


Client total liability: (DBA Fee + expenses)


How the client pays those costs:

Costs recovered from the Defendant:


Balance taken from damages / compensation within 30% CAP:


Which leaves monies from the DBA fee to be returned to client


How much client receives of damages / compensation:



In the above example, the client will only pay £2,600 from the £10,000 damages / compensation received i.e. only 26% which includes all monies due to Leigh Day (the DBA Payment, VAT and expenses).

The DBA Payment will never be more than 30% of your damages (excluding VAT), irrespective of the number of claimants within the group. There will also be an insurance premium payable if your claim is successful, but payment of this will be included in the DBA payment of 30% of your damages (excluding VAT and expenses).

Once you have checked that you are eligible to bring a claim, Leigh Day will ask you to read through their funding agreement and sign the same. You will then be a client of the firm.

If you lose (that is, you get no money back from the Defendants), then you do not have to pay Leigh Day anything, as long as you abide by their funding agreement.

Leigh Day have arranged After The Event (ATE) insurance to protect you against the risk of losing and having to pay BMW’s legal cost

Yes, provided you bought an affected vehicle, you are able to bring a claim.


Yes, if the contract is in your name and the vehicle is affected, you are able to bring a claim.

Yes, if the contract is in your name and the vehicle is affected, you are able to bring a claim.

Provided you are able to confirm that your vehicle is affected, yes. You will need to check your vehicle registration number and we will ask you to provide us with your vehicle purchase documents.

Provided all the vehicles you want to claim for are affected, yes. We need you to complete a separate questionnaire for each of your vehicles.

No, it does not matter where you bought your BMW vehicle as long as it was bought in England or Wales. You are eligible to bring a claim against the manufacturer whether you bought your vehicle from a BMW showroom, from a private seller or from a third-party dealer, or if you bought the car for business purposes.

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Yes, you will still be able to claim regardless of whether your vehicle was bought new or second hand.

At this early stage, it is impossible for us to give an accurate prediction of timescale. As with any legal claim, there are some things within Leigh Day’s control and some things outside their control. Much will depend on the Defendants’ response to the legal claim.

In Leigh Day’s experience, group claims of this type may take two to five years to progress through the Court, but it could take longer. As a client you will be provided with regular updates, particularly in relation to the timescale for next steps, which can be predicted more accurately than for the case as a whole.

The types of legal claims Leigh Day would recommend you bring will depend on your individual circumstances (such as when you bought your vehicle, whether you bought it from an authorised dealer, and whether it was paid for using finance). As such, it is impossible to say that all claims will be worth a certain amount.

For those clients who are eligible to bring a claim under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (“CPUT”) (those being people who bought their vehicle on or after 1 October 2014, via an approved dealer or using approved finance and for non-business use) are entitled to recover a discount on payments made, ranging from 25% to 100%. The compensation recoverable under other types of claim is more dependent on proving loss and a lower amount may be recoverable than under CPUT

This is the first time that these types of claims are being brought against BMW in the English courts. Leigh Day is one of the country’s leading law firms and bringing group actions on behalf of consumers is one of our key areas of speciality.

Leigh Day are joint-lead lawyers in a similar emissions litigation on behalf of Volkswagen owners and recently won the first round of the case against Volkswagen in the English High Court.

They are also acting on behalf of vehicle owners against Mercedes, Nissan, Renault, Vauxhall, Porsche, Audi, Jaguar Land Rover and other Volkswagen Group vehicles for similar allegations concerning ‘defeat devices’ that enable them to cheat emissions tests.