Volkswagen has lost the first major ruling in a landmark High Court lawsuit by owners in England and Wales affected by the installation of emissions cheating devices.
It follows a preliminary hearing in December, when the court was asked whether software installed in the cars was a “defeat device” under EU rules.
In a judgement on Monday, Mr Justice Waksman ruled that it was.
Volkswagen said it was “disappointed” and said may appeal the decision.
About 90,000 motorists in England and Wales are seeking compensation in a case which could be the largest consumer action in English legal history.
A spokesperson for the German carmaker said: “To be clear, today’s decision does not determine liability or any issues of causation or loss for any of the causes of action claimed.
“These remain to be determined by the court as the case continues.”
The case is the latest in a global storm of litigation facing VW – so far the group has paid out £26bn worldwide.
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