Volume 48 (2011) / Issue 4
Although collective redress constitutes a significant feature of modern judicial systems, EU law seems reluctant as to the introduction of such mechanisms. On the one hand, the role of collective rights of action remains indispensable in order to promote procedural efficiency and overcome rational apathy, especially in the fields of antitrust and consumer protection law where illegal business practices may cause scattered and low-valued damages to a multitude of harmed individuals. On the other hand, the potential for unmeritorious claims and abusive actions should not be underestimated, so that specific safeguards are put in place in order to avoid the emergence of a litigation industry in the form of entrepreneurial attorneys.
In light of the recent public consultation launched by the EU Commission, the present paper addresses the challenges and makes propositions for the future collective redress legislation. For that reason, an in-depth analysis as to the substantive, jurisdictional and conflict-of-laws aspects of both representative and collective actions has to be undertaken. In each case, specific consideration will be given to the peculiarities of the Member States procedural traditions and the policy objectives underpinning EU competition and consumer protection law.
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