A group litigation order for action against VW, Audi, SEAT and Skoda over the Volkswagen emissions scandal has been submitted to the UK’s High Court by a group of law firms led by Harcus Sinclair.

Lawyers from Harcus Sinclair told the BBC that 10,000 Volkswagen owners had already expressed interest in suing the German carmaker for compensation over ‘dieselgate’.

In September 2015, Volkswagen was found to have used software to cheat emissions tests, and was ordered by the US government to recall almost half a million cars.

The affected models included the VW Beetle, Golf, and Passat, and the Audi A3, and was branded by the British government as ‘unacceptable’, leading them to push for an EU-wide investigation.

Volkswagen admitted to using the software, which was estimated to have affected 11m vehicles, sparking a worldwide recall.

According to Harcus Sinclair’s dedicated VW Emissions Action site, 1.2m cars in the UK have been affected. Harcus Sinclair estimated that owners could receive “several thousand” pounds in compensation, based on previous payouts of €5,000 (£4,318.84) per vehicle in Spain and $8-10,000 (£6.6-8,200) in the US.

The law firm is appealing for further owners or previous owners of affected VW cars to join the case, and has displayed the VW Emissions Action helpline on its website. The other law firms are Slater and Gordon and Irwin Mitchell.

Harcus Sinclair said, in a statement: “The key allegation is that the affected cars should not have been certified as fit for sale because it is alleged that they produced higher levels of nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide than the rules allowed.

“It is also alleged that the affected vehicles only passed official emissions test because their engines were fitted with a ‘defeat device’ which reduces nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions under test conditions.”

The application will be heard in the High Court on 30 January 2017.