Collective redress procedures - European debates

Duncan Fairgrieve, Geraint Howells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Collective redress mechanisms for consumer claims seek both to allow legal systems to accommodate mass litigation without being overwhelmed and to enable litigation to be viable where individual claims would not be economic. The article maps a number of recent reforms and reform proposals relating to consumer collective redress at national level and comments on EU developments. It notes that there is insufficient recognition of the differences between schemes geared at managing mass litigation as opposed to those aimed at facilitating otherwise non-viable claims. There are however signs that a European style of collective redress procedure is developing, which emphasize the role of public authorities and consumer organizations as gatekeepers to collective redress. The EU is unlikely to be able to impose collective redress procedures on national civil procedures, but the EU could prompt Member States to reflect on the need for national reforms. There may be limited scope for an EU mechanism to address the problem of individually non-viable consumer claims. This would however have to address certain fundamental issues such as the opt-out mechanism, cy-près distribution and funding if consumer organizations are to be encouraged to bring such actions. At a legal doctrinal level, it is interesting to note the influence of comparative studies on policy development within Member States as well as at the EU level. 2009 British Institute of International and Comparative Law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-409
Number of pages31
JournalInternational and Comparative Law Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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