Handbook of Research on International Consumer Law, Second Edition
Show Less

Handbook of Research on International Consumer Law, Second Edition

Edited by Geraint Howells, Iain Ramsay and Thomas Wilhelmsson

Consumer law and policy continues to be of great concern to both national and international regulatory bodies, and the second edition of the Handbook of Research on International Consumer Law provides an updated international and comparative analysis of the central legal and policy issues, in both developed and developing economies.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 17: Using class actions to enforce consumer protection law

Deborah R. Hensler


In the past two decades representative collective litigation procedures, commonly termed "class actions," have been adopted by dozens of countries on virtually every continent. Representative collective litigation is now authorized in civil law as well as common law jurisdictions and in countries with diverse forms of government and political ideologies. One of the most popular uses of class actions is to supplement public enforcement of consumer protection laws and to facilitate compensation of consumers' losses, particularly when the losses to individuals from widespread violation of law is relatively modest. Although policy-makers in countries with avowedly strong commitments to public enforcement class actions insist the purpose of new class action procedures is wholly for purpose of "redress," requiring entities that violate market regulations to pay compensation inevitably produces a deterrent effect, in the form of the direct cost of compensation to those who were harmed and in the form of reputational losses that frequently accompany the payment of compensation to thousands or more victims. This chapter reviews the purposes of class actions and details their operation, with particular attention to the United States, the jurisdiction with the longest experience with the modern class action procedure. The author present empirical data on the rate of class action litigation and on litigation outcomes in the U.S. and considers the policy challenges of utilizing private class action litigation as a means of enforcing consumer protection law.

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

or login to access all content.