Vincent Smith, ‘Redress through collective actions in Europe: ELI/UNIDROIT and European Commission proposals’

ABSTRACT
This article discusses the chapter of rules for collective actions in the European Law Institute (ELI) / International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) draft model rules of civil procedure for Europe. It considers them from two view points: at the beginning of the action (how the claimant group is formed) and at the end (what remedies are available). The guidance in the current (2013) European Commission Recommendation on collective redress and the proposed Directive on consumer representative actions is compared with the draft collective actions chapter. National collective redress rules in Europe are also used to illustrate these comparisons. The draft collective actions chapter goes beyond both existing European Union (EU) guidance and practice and current national collective redress regimes in Europe in proposing a single action for all kinds of collective compensation claims. The chapter gives a wide discretion to the national judge to admit collective actions for compensation either on behalf of an identified group of claimants (opt in) or of an identifiable group on an ‘opt-out’ basis. The model collective action is shown to articulate the requirements of the Recommendation in the two focus areas – formation of the group and remedies. It will also be available to implement the proposed Directive on consumer representative actions if the Directive is made in its current form. The model collective actions chapter draws not only on EU practice but also on the most advanced of the collective redress procedures available in Europe, the chapter can be a vehicle for States to apply existing EU principles in their civil procedure rules, and it also makes a notable advance in ensuring effective, generally available, redress for groups of claimants in disputes arising from European mass harm.

Vincent Smith, Redress through collective actions in Europe: ELI/UNIDROIT and European Commission proposals, Uniform Law Review, https://doi.org/10.1093/ulr/unz004. Published: 22 April 2019.

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