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Volkswagen: Settlement of civil complaint in the States: Customers will have the right to return their vehicles and get compensations

diesel gateJudge, Charles Breyer, signed the settlement between VW and the owners of polluting diesel vehicles. It is one of the biggest settlements ever and the firm is forced to pay very high compensations to their represents and U.S. customers. According to first information, 1,1 billion euros are going to be paid to represents, 13,6 billion euros to customers. In this case every customer will get approximately 9.000 Euros as compensation. More than 10.000 vehicles will be returned and in consequence, the company will have to repair them to be able to put them on the market again. The juridical system of the U.S. is proven to be customer friendly for one more time.

What about customers from other countries, especially from Europe? Unfortunately, within Europe there is no juridical system allowing class-action lawsuits as it is in the U.S. Only Holland provides some similar options. Therefore, ‘Global Justice Network’, an international association of different law firms has founded in Holland the organization ‘CLEAN’. ‘CLEAN’ will fight for all customers. Our law office is also one of the founders and is representing normally, but not only, Swiss customers. Joining us is not bound on any economical expenses or obligations. That is why everyone owning a polluting diesel vehicle is asked to contact us immediately.

A week before the settlement agreement, lawyers from Global Justice Network, among them our represent Constantin Kokkinos, met in Brazil to talk about further steps in Europe. Differences between the European countries have been discussed. This meeting was the second one especially held for the Volkswagen case. The first one took place in San Francisco. American Lawyers, members of Global Justice Network, have done a great job and helped to achieve the U.S. settlement. They will cooperate with their European colleagues and their know-how will be most important.

The American ruling leaves hope that there will be a similar one for European customers even though the VW concern does not want this. Its directing board would prefer to just fixing the vehicles in question without any other further obligations or the right of return. The more customers will apply for compensation through our association the bigger is our chance of being heard by court and gain justice. That is why we are asking our readers for one more time to contact us if they own one of the polluting diesel cars: without any obligations or expenses for themselves.

First Instance Court Ruling "locks" the exchange rate on Swiss franc loans

                                                                                                                                                swiss franc loans

The first court ruling, in favor of Swiss franc loan borrowers, was published recently by the Multi-Member First Instance Court of Athens intensifying the conflict between the loan borrowers and their bank lenders.

According to court ruling No 334/2016, the Bank is obliged to accept payments of monthly installments as well as the partial or full discharge of Swiss franc loans based on the exchange rate of currency valid at the date of the conclusion of the relevant loan agreements and not based on the exchange rate at the day of payment. That makes a dramatic difference as most currencies including euro have been strongly devalued towards the Swiss franc over the last few years.

In particular, the First Instance Court rules the following:

  • The Bank is obliged to include all interests of installments and payments made by loan borrowers according to the exchange rate valid during the period of disbursement of the loan.
  • The Bank is obliged to accept partial or full payment of installments or the discharge of Swiss franc loans in euros valid at the time of payment of the loan in euros.
  • In case of denunciation of the loan agreement, the Bank must omit the conversion of the loan’s balance in euros based on the current sale price of Swiss francs, at the date of the denunciation.


Despite being a lower level court ruling with no immediate execution force, this judicial decision is a positive outcome for thousands of loan borrowers and it will certainly influence settlement of over 9 billion loan agreements denominated in Swiss francs. 

Furthermore, if this judgment is confirmed by Higher Courts it will constitute binding case law for forthcoming similar rulings eventually leading to a legislative intervention or Ministerial decision for settling the matter in compliance with the Court’s rulings.



Our roots in the Aviation law are very deep:  started over 30 years ago and covering almost every field of it. More specifically we are dealing with rules and regulations of the Montreal Convention, the Warsaw Convention, the IATA (International Air Transport Association) Regulations and Resolutions Procedures and also the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) Proceedings.

We are proud to be one of the few aviation law firms in Europe (if not the only one!)  to deal with disputes of travel agencies working with the  International Air Transport Association. IATA represents most scheduled airlines world’s airlines, some 265 carriers or 83% of the total air traffic. IATA manages a worldwide electronic ticketing system called the Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) which allows for reservation, sale and payment of air plane tickets by travel agencies around the world. This is a very complex system as, at the close of 2014, there were BSP operations in 181 countries and territories. The system currently serves 400 participating airlines with an on-time settlement rate of 99.98%. In 2014, IATA's BSP processed $255.7 billion.

ELC was involved with this complex issue several times, mostly representing travel agencies which were accredited by IATA to issue ticket online through its BSP ticketing system. 

In particular, we have successfully defended travel agents from Denmark, the U.K. the U.S. and Greece  on their issues with IATA in front of the Travel Agency Commissioner (an internal arbitration proceedings under IATA Regulation) and also on arbitration proceedings under the ICC Rules.


As a founding member of the Global justice Network (GJN), our law firm participated in the GJN Spring Conference which was held in Madrid on May 26-28 , 2016. It was a very successful event where over 40 participants took part in,essentially  focusing on the Volkswagen collective claims issue. Two out of our three US partner law firms were retained from the US Judge for representing concerned American VW owners in class action. In Europe where unfortunately such legal tool does not exist claiming the consumer's rights is more difficult and in any case fairly complicated.This difference in our legal systems could well be behind the motivation of the giant German manufacturer to announce that it intends to indemnify American concerned VW owners but not the European ones. Nevertheless the plaintiff law firms members of the GJN with a solid proven record on such issues have pioneered the way of attempting to protect European consumers through an interesting legal possibility that exists only in the Netherlands where we also have a major law firm as a founding partner and have established along with the other members of our network a stichting (foundation) under the acronym CLEAN so as to participate in a collective claim, for and on behalf of European concerned VW owners who were affected by the fraud. So much is to be seen within the forthcoming months during which all concerned European consumers are invited to join the action without any obligation of their part.

In addition to the VW diesel issue , the event offered workshops on financial litigation, human rights and pharmaceutical and medical devices. ELC's partner Constantin Kokkinos who is honored to be part of GJN's executive committee intervened on several topics during that conference on the VW Diesel issue as well as on cross border financial litigation matters.  



Our Irish partner attorney B‎rain O'Reilly passed away

We are very saddened to hear of our GJN treasurer and collegue 's loss, Brian O'Reilly.

We will sorely miss his sense of humour, honesty and efficiency.

Our prayers and thoughts are with his family during this difficult time

.Brian O'Reilly

GJN Spring 2016 Conference Madrid 26-28 May 2016

Our lawyers are taking part in GJN’s Spring 2016 Conference which is held in Madrid, Spain. It focuses on cross border litigation and offers workshops on financial litigation, human rights and pharmaceutical and medical devices. A panel composed by lawyers from 15 different nationalities including our American colleagues from Lieff Cabraiser, Keller Rohrback and Jack Russo are also discussing about Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” litigation, focusing on the evolution of the case in the US where things are moving quicker and more efficient than in Europe.


EgyptAir flight MS 804 from Paris to Cairo has crashed in the Mediterranean Sea, somewhere between the south of the Greek island of Karpathos and the southeast of the island of Crete. The plane was carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew members, whose fate is unknown. The nationalities of the passengers were reportedly as follows: 30 Egyptians, 15 French citizens, two Iraqis and one person each from Britain, Belgium, Sudan, Chad, Canada, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Portugal and Algeria. Our law firm, as part of the Global Justice Network  (whose members are recognized as being among the most experienced aviation accident lawyers  in the world), is closely monitoring the situation and assessing its impacts in conjunction with its international partners.


ELC: Major arbitration successful outcome

It is with great pleasure and satisfaction that we received the final ruling of an arbitration Court that has granted a very substantial amount to our client a major construction company that had claims from a public State owned enterprise. The Arbitration process has lasted long -almost a year- and after many lengthy sessions and several hundred pages of supporting documents the Court has come into a very well founded conclusion that was granting right to our client. 

This success confirms our committment to the process of arbitration justice especially into international lcorporate and industrial disputes. Our Law firm in conjunction with its international network that specalizes into such solutions has a remarkable experience on dispute resolution process at the ICC Paris (International chamber of commerce) that has successfully handled in the past. In addition we are also familiar with the process and rules of the London Arbitration and of the recently unified Swiss Chambers of Commerce.  

U.S. top trial attorney Robert Lieff inducted today at the Elite lawyers Hall of Fame

NEW YORK: The National Law Journal announced late last month the induction of five prominent plaintiffs attorneys to its Elite Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame. The publisher awards are being  presented to each inductee at the 2015 Elite Trial Lawyers Awards today on December 8 at the Plaza Hotel in New York.
This year’s inductees are: Thomas Girardi of Girardi Keese; David Sanford of Sanford Heisler Kimpel; Robert Lieff of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein; Brian Panish of Panish Shea & Boyle; and Russ Herman of Herman Herman & Katz.
“We are excited to recognize these outstanding plaintiff advocates,” said Kenneth Gary, vice president and group publisher. “Each of these attorneys have achieved great heights in the practice of law and in generating outstanding results for their clients. This year’s Elite Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame is a strong class for sure.”

Robert Lieff and Lieff Cabraiser Heimann and Bernstein -a law firm ranked in 2015 as the number one law firm in the United States on its field-  are our selected U.S. partners for well over a decade within the Global Justice Network the international law organisation where we are a founding member and Rober Lieff is our Hon. Chairman. We are very proud of Robert Lieff and we wholeheartedly congratulate him for his induction at the Elite Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame.   


The recall of a large number of Volkswagen diesel autos (2009 and newer) is already resulting into a great deal of claims raised throughout the U.S. but also in Europe.  Our law firm is exploring the possibility  with its international associates for filing in the U.S.  a consumer class action on behalf of Volkswagen owners who have the appropriate year autos. We are already coordinating with our American partners, Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein LLP and  Keller Rohrback LLP -some of them ranked last year as top U.S. Law firms- for the consumer class action but also for a shareholders case on behalf of the stockholders  who have seen the value of their shares dropping by almost 40% in two days. Most of the publicly owned stock is traded in Germany but most stockholders are spread throughout Europe. Switzerland as several other European countries should be affected by those events both in terms of consumers/owners but also to a greater extend in terms of stockholders of the giant German automaker. Next month two of our associates are flying to San Francisco so as to coordinate on the matter with our American counterparts. We invite those interested to explore their participation into such class actions (or grouped actions in jurisdictions where law does not permit class actions) to get in touch with us as soon as possible without any obligation from their part.