back to article Play Store class action has £15m budget for defeating Google in London court

Google has partly won a legal bid to uncover the budget behind a not-quite-class-action lawsuit pursuing it for £920m in Britain's Competition Appeal Tribunal. Revealing that Elizabeth Coll's lawyers have £15.4m with which to take on the world's biggest adtech firm, judges dismissed Google's attempt to reveal how much the …

  1. knarf

    No Lawyer or backer here cares if Android users get a penny.

    Here pleb have £2.50

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: No Lawyer or backer here cares if Android users get a penny.

      £2.50 is nothing to be sniffed at.

      With the current price of energy, that'll charge my Android phone for a good 5 minutes.

  2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    I'm sobbing crocodile tears for Google...

    Surely nobody gives a flying f**k as long as the cases are being brought in good faith and in the correct manner, because the average Joe in the street (myself included) doesn't have a chance in hell of getting Google and other lawyered to the hilt big-tech companies to change their ways.

    1. zapper

      Re: I'm sobbing crocodile tears for Google...

      good faith? really? when one is making millions from attempting to take them to court, good faith goes out the window. and do you really think the odd 100 million will make any difference? Google FB et al spend more than that on jelly beans for the reception tables.


    2. Anonymous Coward

      I'm sobbing crocodile tears for the lawyers

      The lawyers are just ambulance chasers writ large. They have discovered that a contingency fee for one person buys them a small car but a contingency fee for millions of people buys them all yachts.

      I have been involved in one class action - the consolidated class action for the Yahoo data breaches of 2012 - 2016 (I theoretically qualify for data monitoring services). But the case is still being litigated (not by Yahoo but by the various law firms and plaintiffs). All this legal nonsense is billable and further reduces the money set aside for the victims.

      First we kill all the lawyers is sounding like a better and better philosophy.

  3. AnotherName

    Guess what the legal bill will amount to?

    I'd estimate £15,400,000.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Guess what the legal bill will amount to?

      Break even? You must be kidding! These are lawyers taking a gamble and the entry fee is £15.4m. I'm sure they will be expecting 2x that back as a bare minimum, more likely 3x. Have you seen the inflation rate for yachts? (No, it's not an inflatable rubber dinghy!)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The answer is more lawyers

    What this shows is a need for more lawyers!

    The more legal teams that class representatives can choose from, the more the lawyers will be forced to compete with each other for such cases, providing better terms than competing lawyers, thus providing a fairer proportion of any settlement to the class members!

    If your lawyers didn't get you a satisfactory result, the answer is to get more lawyers. Big businesses know this. The answer is always more lawyers!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The answer is more lawyers

      Are you saying it's lawyers all the way down (to hell)?

      1. Loyal Commenter

        Re: The answer is more lawyers

        The road to good intentions is paved with the bones of lawyers, or something like that?

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "for-profit litigation"

    That simple notion is everything that is wrong with the legal system.

    You want to make millions ? Invest in buildings, or work the stock market, but leave the courts alone.

    It is simply unacceptable that establishing justice should be a source of insane profit for anyone. The only person/entity who should derive any "profit" from a court case is the one who has been found Not Guilty. That person/entity is entitled to not bear any of the costs of the trial, and be reimbursed of all damages incurred.

    Lawyers are paid by the hour, period.

    1. Chris G

      Re: "for-profit litigation"

      What's the difference between a leech and lawyer.

      A leech will detach when it's full.

    2. Snake Silver badge

      Re: "for-profit litigation"

      "Lawyers are paid by the hour, period."

      But then, even if legislated, a lawyer only need to triple his/her hourly fee if taking "on contingent of win" cases.

      The principle is that contingency fee lawyering is that people who can not afford lawyer's fees can still have their day in court, and if the case is just and therefore decided in their favor the fees will be paid out of the award.

      The lawyers ALWAYS make a profit because they are always charging more than their actual costs. To believe otherwise is naive.

      If you try to tell the legal community that they "can't make a profit" from those awards they'll just triple, or more, their "hourly rate" and get their tithe anyways.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: "for-profit litigation"

        "... lawyers ALWAYS make a profit because they are always charging more than their actual costs. "

        Obvious, much? Whether you replace lawyers in that sentence with doctors, garbage collectors or anything in between, no one provides services for cost unless it's otherwise subsidised, and for all the lawyer-bashing*, most of the lawyers I know are honest hardworking professionals, not much different from most IT professionals.

        The problems arise with that small subset willing to twist any legal document/procedure to the advantage of the highest bidder, together with the fact that all too often the highest bidder does not give a shit about morality or doing right as long as they maximise their profits

        *which indulgence I also occasionally allow myself!

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Indeed, that is quite obvious. My consultation fees are also higher than my costs. Duh.

          But I do not take 45% of my customer's revenue if the project goes well. Lawyers, in some cases (class action) take the lion's share of the rewards - and they aren't the ones who were wronged in the first place.

          That is totally unacceptable.

          But hey, it's the American Way !

    3. goldcd

      But it's a bit like short-sellers in finance.

      They're doing it for selfish reasons - but they perform a useful service 'outing' and 'punishing' illegal behaviour/fraud.

      Of course it would be better if this was all handled by the regulators/governments, but knowing they're out there with their giant pockets, sniffing for blood in their water - well it's not going to make anybody behave worse, and that benefits us all.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: But it's a bit like short-sellers in finance.

        So, it's sorts like privatised, for-profit regulation then? Can I buy shares in OFCOM? (Hmmm...maybe not a good idea)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "for-profit litigation"

      For profit Litigation and for profit justice are two different ideas.

      I'm OK with the idea of for profit litigation for non criminal cases. Besides every services job is for-profit?

      Is there a better model?

    5. Loyal Commenter

      Re: "for-profit litigation"

      It sounds like there is an argument to regulate the fees that lawyers are allowed to charge; either capping the hourly rate, or a scale of fixed fees depending on the type/scale of the case.

      To be scrupulously fair, without any lawyers, we'd be pretty screwed. For starters, nobody would be able to get a fair trial, or see justice done when they are wronged. Add to that, that individual lawyers are entitled to make a living, have to train hard, and so on, and that some cases might require a lot of work, and multiple people on them.

      What this seems to be in this case though, is lawyers as a vehicle for capital investment. Just one more thing that's wrong with unregulated capitalism...

  6. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    Big corporations should be required to pay for legal costs of the suing side upfront, so they have a fair chance in court, if judge decides the case has merit.

    If big corporations would allocate a £100m budget for their defense, they should transfer £100m to the other side as well.

    Otherwise average member of the public will never be able to assert their rights.

    1. SImon Hobson

      Re: Equality

      Put into escrow, not handed over.

      But, the problem with this is that it puts further costs onto being a defendant - c.f. strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP). So while it might seem appealing to "hit the big bad guys", in practice any such law would end up being used by big bad boys to put "not as big and probably good" boys out of business.

      That's already a tactic in some jurisdictions (esp. USA). Calculate who is not big enough to be able to fund a good defence and offer them a chance to pay protection money (a.k.a. out of court settlement) for an alleged infringement - carefully calculating the amount so it seems attractive compared the cost of defending litigation. I've read that it can cost 1/4 million $ to successfully defend a patent infringement case !

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. F0ulRaven

    Of course, this whole deal works in everyone's favour - except the obvious Android user who has been wronged!

    In this case, the lawyers get a huge payout which keeps them happy, but Google also win in this deal.

    If they end up paying a $Billion for a fine, that is a $Billion they take out of their tax fund, and surprise, they pay less tax on what's left!

    For yet another year, what seems to be the law helping the little man turns out to be the law helping the rich guys stay rich!

  9. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    Fifteen million ?

    Fifteen Million !

    Well that just shows that "justice" goes to those with the most money.

    You shouldnt need Fifteen Million! to argue your point regardless of how big and rich the opponent is.

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