UK owners of Volkswagen vehicles are looking for compensation for the German carmaker's role in the emissions scandal.

In 2015, Europe's largest automaker admitted it had manipulated data to make it appear that some of its vehicles were more environmentally friendly than they actually were, leading the company to set aside £12.7bn ($15.4bn, €14.7bn) to cover the costs related to the emissions-manipulation scandal.

According to estimate published on Monday (9 January) by law firm Harcus Sinclair, approximately 10,000 UK VW owners have already stated they would be open to suing the German company and they could potentially be owned "several thousand" pounds in compensation.

The law firm said its estimate was based on the level of compensation owners received in Spain, where VW paid out €5,000 to each owner, and the US, where the payout was between $8,000 and $10,000 for each claimant.

"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 emissions than the rules allowed," the firm said.

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

According to industry figures, there are approximately 1.2 million diesel engine cars affected in the UK, including models across the VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda brand, which are all owned by the German carmaker.

In October last year, VW reached a deal to pay up to $1.2bn to its 652 US dealers in compensation for the emissions scandal, while earlier in 2016, the group had agreed to pay up to $15.3bn to buy back and fix cars fitted with a software that enables them to cheat emission tests, but the deal only covered 475,000 2.0-litre VW and Audi diesel vehicles.

VW, however, has so far resisted calls to compensate European customers who have been affected by the same issue, largely as different legal rules reduce the chance of winning a payout.