Is US-style class action litigation coming to the EU?

By Ludger Giesberts and Andreas Tiedge

The European Commission is calling for European Union (EU) member states to introduce an injunctive and compensatory collective redress mechanism to their national procedural rules by 26 July 2015. In many respects, the concept of a European collective redress scheme is similar to that of US-style class actions.

The new European collective redress mechanism would increase the risk of product safety and product liability litigation against companies. Collective redress will, above all, affect manufacturers and importers of products. The new landscape would include the potential for large-scale, high-stakes mass tort claims with a high media impact.

Collective redress, in Europe, is popularly understood to mean a representative proceeding — a case brought on behalf of a group of claimants. Notably, a legal definition for the term ‘collective redress’ does not exist in EU law. Moreover, the different cases where collective redress could be used differ greatly…

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