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Haulage operators in Scotland now have until next summer to lodge a claim for damages in relation to a cartel among truck manufacturers, following a decision in the country’s Supreme Court.

The Court of Session rejected an argument by Europe’s largest truck manufacturers that it was too late for companies to pursue compensation, after the European Commission found they had fixed the prices of trucks over a 14-year period between 1997 and 2011.

The ruling is not binding in England, but legal experts said it could be adopted south of the border too.

The Scottish case was brought by a group of local authorities, which suspected they might have a claim for damages as they had purchased trucks during the time of the cartel’s operation.

Volvo Group, Renault, MAN, Daimler, Iveco and DAF Trucks attempted to block the claim by arguing that a five-year limitation in Scotland had now passed, but this was rejected by Lord Tyre.

Julia Dodds, director of litigation at London-based Fieldfisher solicitors, said the decision opens the door for other lorry operators to lodge a claim – in England as well as in Scotland.

She said: “What the Court of Session found is these kinds of cases only start to run from when the decision is made: July 2016.

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“So, those claims can continue.”

Dodds added: “It’s not binding in England, but it is persuasive if it’s brought in court.

“It’s not 100% certain, but the Scottish court was looking at issues relating to a European decision.

“An English court would hesitate before disagreeing.”

Phil James, a partner at Weightmans LLP, which is backing a class action on behalf of the group UK Trucks Claim, said the Scottish ruling was only in relation to individual claims, not collective ones: “Limitation concerning individual claims brought in the English High Court is governed by the six-year period laid down in the Limitation Act,” he said.

“The general view is that the Scottish decision is likely to be appealed.

“Our collective claim has been brought within the bespoke limitation period for collective claims so there are no limitation issues for our opt-out CPO [collective proceedings order] if our application is granted by the CAT [competition appeal tribunal], whose decision is expected in the first half of next year.”

Backhouse Jones, which is working with the RHA on its collective claim, which currently has more than 11,000 operators, said it could be at least another 18 months before any court case for damages takes place.