Mass Justice
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Mass Justice

Challenges of Representation and Distribution

Edited by Jenny Steele and Willem H. van Boom

This insightful book considers phenomena such as mass torts, which affect numerous victims, and complex insolvency cases, which concern multiple and often competing interests.
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Chapter 4: Cross-border Mass Litigation: A Particular Challenge for European Law

Astrid Stadler


Astrid Stadler SITUATION OF MASS LITIGATION IN EUROPE 1. Europe faces a complex situation in terms of collective redress. Certain Member States – particularly Sweden, Finland, and Denmark1 – have reformed their traditional system of collective redress in recent years, adopting different types of group action models. Others, such as Germany, still feel highly suspicious of “class actions”, and favour representative actions or model case proceedings, while a large number of Member States have done nothing at all to improve collective redress.2 On the European level, DG Competition published a White Paper3 on the private enforcement of antitrust law, which favours a combination of opt-out representative actions brought by qualified entities and private opt-in collective actions.4 The initiative started by DG Health and Consumer Protection remains in the stage of a 2008 Green Paper discussing several options including opt-in group actions for consumer collective redress.5 All in all, it seems likely that a group action will be proposed by the new Commission in 2010 for the private enforcement of competition law, and at least for cross-border consumer cases. Among the many types of actions falling in the category of collective redress,6 this chapter deals only with group or class actions for damages. Model case proceedings and representative actions (e.g. by consumer organisations) raise different questions in the cross-border context. The same is true for actions directed to obtain a court injunction rather than monetary compensation. The question of how European law can balance the efficient administration of collective redress against fundamental...

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