The Law and Economics of Class Actions in Europe
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The Law and Economics of Class Actions in Europe

Lessons from America

Edited by Jürgen G. Backhaus, Alberto Cassone and Giovanni B. Ramello

This well-documented book discusses the power and limitations of class actions with insights and analysis from a panel of distinguished scholars. It pays special attention to the introduction and the applicability of such a legal device in European civil law countries. The book offers a broad legal and economic investigation, drawing insights from US judicial experience and giving a rigorous discussion of both the philosophical and constitutional aspects and the economic mechanisms and incentives set up by class actions.
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Chapter 16: Introducing Class Actions in Finland: An Example of Law-making Without Economic Analysis

Mikko Välimäki


Mikko Välimäki 1. INTRODUCTION The Finnish Parliament accepted in February 2007 a new law on class actions (literally ‘group actions’), which entered into force on 1 January, 2008.1 The legislative process was particularly slow. Finland has been preparing a law on class actions since the early 1990s and this was – depending on the criteria of counting – the fourth try. Some fifteen years ago the idea of class actions was something new in Europe. Time passes quickly, however, and the new Finnish law cannot be described as ‘radical’ by any meaning of the word. Many European countries, as described in other chapters in this volume, have changed their existing procedural codes and enacted new laws to make class action litigation possible. The new Finnish class action law differs from the mainstream in fundamentally limiting its scope of application. Although the law is titled as being a general law on class actions, it only applies to consumer cases where the government-funded Consumer Ombudsman is acting as the lead counsel. This was not the case in the beginning. Years ago, the first law proposals had much broader scope of application but as the lobbying between potential defendants (the industry) and plaintiffs (consumer agencies etc.) became polarized, it became evident that there can be either a major compromise or no law at all. Indeed, the objectives and contents of the law proposals changed many times during the years 1 Ryhmäkannelaki, 13.2.2007. The law is based on government’s proposal nr. 154/2006. 327...

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