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Kate A. Corby

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Almost exactly 6 months ago, we reported in this blog that the European Commission was exploring ways it might expand consumer access to justice, and in particular increase the availability of “class” or collective civil litigation across the EEA, while avoiding what it characterizes as US style excess in class litigation.  One proposal is to introduce a new law allowing collective litigation led by representative consumer associations across a number of economic sectors (the “Proposed…

EUROPE – The European Commission is exploring ways that it might expand consumer access to justice, and in particular increase the availability of “class” or collective civil litigation across the EEA while avoiding what it characterises as US style excess in class litigation.

Alternative Proposals

  1. Non-legislative options: to enhance qualified entities’ capacity to manage both injunction and redress actions.
  2. Targeted revision of the Injunctions Directive: amends several key areas, in particular by expanding the scope of the Injunctions Directive to protect consumers in areas such as financial services, energy, telecommunications and environment.
  3. Targeted revision of the Injunctions Directive + consumer collective redress: aims to introduce further procedural efficiencies such as a “one stop shop” where representative bodies could ask the courts and/or administrative authorities to stop any breach of the law that harms consumers and obtain redress for anyone that has suffered loss.

EU

The possibility of an EU-wide framework for collective redress is approaching with the closing of the European Commission’s call for evidence on the implementation of the Commission’s Recommendation 2013/396/EU (the “Recommendation”) on 15 August 2015. The Commission will now proceed to formulate its report (the “Report”).

The Report is intended to gather together information about practical experience of collective redress systems across the EU, as the Commission is concerned to determine whether current systems are effective in giving consumers access to justice and enable them to recover damages in the context of: consumer protection, competition, environment, personal data, financial services and investor protection. The evidence collected will be used to determine whether legislative steps at EU level are required in order to impose a minimum procedural standard for collective action regimes in the EU.  Although the 2013 Recommendation set out common principles for injunctive and compensatory collective redress mechanisms, it was non-binding.

UNITED KINGDOM – A hot topic in recent months has been the introduction in England and Wales of a specific “opt-out” collective redress regime for breaches of competition law. A popular talking point has been whether the development will lead to an increase in collective action in competition claims. In this blog, we ask whether this domestic development, combined with potential European Commission action, could lead to an increase in collective action in other areas…