ADR and Settlement of Mass Claims
Edited by Christopher Hodges and Astrid Stadler
Chapter 7: America’s dynamic and extensive experience with collective litigation
At a conference in Moscow in September 2012, Professor Walker introduced a plenary session on Cultural Dimensions of Group Litigation by asking ‘Who’s Afraid of US-style Class Actions?’ Her panel included academics from Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia and Sweden. She elaborated on the theme as follows: US-style class actions have become a flashpoint for debate over group litigation and the collective redress regimes emerging around the world. Everyone wants to develop better ways for consumers and others who suffer loss from mass harms to receive compensation for claims that are too small to litigate individually. Everyone wants to improve the means for encouraging responsible conduct on the part of those who might cause such harms. But everyone, at least outside the United States, seems also to agree that they do not want to adopt US-style class actions in their systems. Professor Walker’s provocative introduction takes up where Professor Hodges left off in his recent book on European class and representative actions, for that book is largely occupied with working through the ways in which European countries can try to accomplish the goals Professor Walker identifies without falling into the errant ways of the US class action.
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