From: HOGG Martin <>
Date: 23/09/2015 07:11:31 UTC
Subject: Volkswagen and breach of contract/tort

Dear all,

I am the owner of a Volkswagen Polo. It is not one of the diesel ones which are being recalled because of allegedly falsified emission tests. Nonetheless, it is a car tarnished by having a VW badge on it. When I come to sell it, I may well find that I get less for it than I might otherwise have, because of general reputational damage caused to the brand by VW’s (it would appear) fraudulent practices. I wonder whether circumstances such as these might trigger a damages claim against VW by owners of cars in my position. Breach of contract might found the basis (though for breach of what term? Contracts for the purchase of a car don’t import, I imagine, an implied term of mutual trust and confidence, such as arises in employment contracts, and founded “stigma damages” in the Malik v BBCI case), but I doubt that a tortious/delictual claim would arise (given the potentially huge number of claimants affected by the pure economic loss suffered, albeit that any of them who directly bought their car from VW would be in a proximate relationship by virtue of the contractual relationship). I’d be interested to hear anyone’s thoughts on this. (I’m not actually thinking of suing VW, as my intention was to drive the car for a number of years until it basically gave up, so my musings on the subject are purely hypothetical).

Best wishes,


Professor Martin A. Hogg
Edinburgh Law School -- The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.