Table of Contents

Class Actions in Context

Class Actions in Context

How Culture, Economics and Politics Shape Collective Litigation

Edited by Deborah R. Hensler, Christopher Hodges and Ianika Tzankova

In recent years collective litigation procedures have spread across the globe, accompanied by hot controversy and normative debate. Yet virtually nothing is known about how these procedures operate in practice. Based on extensive documentary and interview research, this volume presents the results of the first comparative investigation of class actions and group litigation ‘in action’, in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Chapter 18: Class actions in context

Deborah R. Hensler

Subjects: law - academic, arbitration and dispute resolution, comparative law, consumer law, law and society, law of obligations


Legal scholars who write about class actions, group litigation and other collective litigation focus on statutes and rules. Public policy-makers who debate adopting collective procedures focus on consequences. Neither scholars nor policy-makers typically pay much attention to the circumstances that give rise to the mass claims that the procedures address, the cultural values and institutions that shape beliefs about when people and businesses should be compensated for losses, the economic arrangements that facilitate or deter litigation and the politics that shape decisions about who will be responsible for paying compensation to whom and how much. The case study research reported in this book highlights the importance of these contextual variables for understanding the functions collective litigation plays in different legal regimes and polities and the roles of parties, lawyers, judges, politicians and civil society in shaping litigation. By juxtaposing the stories of how collective litigation arose and evolved in different contexts, it is possible to discern both the common features of different jurisdictions’ collective litigation processes and the importance of regime-specific characteristics in determining the outcomes of collective litigation. Close observation of class actions and non-representative group procedures reveals a more complicated picture of the challenges mass claims present than is typically suggested by the debates over the adoption of collective litigation procedures. Qualitative studies of a small number of mass litigations leave many empirical questions unanswered.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information