How Culture, Economics and Politics Shape Collective Litigation
Edited by Deborah R. Hensler, Christopher Hodges and Ianika Tzankova
Chapter 4: Using associations as a vehicle for class action: The case of Taiwan
Taiwan, as a civil law country, owes the origin of its civil procedure to the German system. Most of the articles of the first modern Taiwan Code of Civil Procedure (TCCP) are virtually literal translations of the German Code of Civil Procedure of 1877. As a result, traditionally the concept of a class action was foreign to the Taiwan civil justice system. While under the influence of Japanese civil procedure, TCCP has long provided a ‘representative suit’ device through which a litigant can receive an explicit delegation from another party who shares common interests in the subject matter in dispute to sue or be sued on the latter’s behalf. The application of such device is limited in practice and has never been considered as performing the modern function of a class action. The concept of a class action was formally introduced by the Consumer Protection Act of 1994, which provides that a certified consumer protection association can bring a lawsuit to seek damages from a business provided that 20 or more consumers delegate their rights against such business to the consumer protection association. This provision establishes the basic model of the modern class action in Taiwan. The newly established procedure has four features. First, it overcomes the traditional dogma inherited from the German way of thinking that a party cannot delegate its right to sue to a third party who does not share a common cause of action.
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