Merricks v Mastercard Inc : Collective Actions Re-invigorated...
Overview of currrent position
On 11 June 2013, the European Commission published a series of common, non-binding principles for collective redress mechanisms in European Member States in the form of a Recommendation. This was accompanied by a Communication on collective redress mechanisms in Member States, which analyses the replies to the Commission's 2011 Public consultation on collective redress (see below) and sets out the Commission's position on a range of key issues.
The Recommendation puts forward a set of principles relating both to judicial and out-of-court collective redress that the Commission considers should be common across the Union. The Recommendation is designed to ensure a coherent horizontal approach to collective redress in the EU without harmonizing national redress mechanisms. The principles cover a variety of issues to ensure that fundamental procedural rights of parties are preserved, whilst safeguarding against unjustified or abusive litigation. It is indicated that the mechanisms should be available in fields where the EU law grants rights to citizens and companies, notably in consumer protection, competition, environment protection, protection of personal data, financial services legislation and investor protection (see recital (7) Recommendation). The Recommendation addresses both compensatory and -as far as appropriate- injunctive collective redress. Member States should take the necessary measures to implement the principles set out in this Recommendation within two years.
The Recommendation complemented the proposal for a Directive on antitrust damages which was designed to assist the victims of violations of antitrust rules, by harmonising procedural law issues concerning private enforcement other than collective redress. The Directive on antitrust damages actions was signed into law on 26 November 2014. This followed final adoption of the Directive by the Council on 10 November 2014.
• the Recommendation
• the Communication on collective redress mechanisms
• the Directive on antitrust damages actions
For further details, click on EU Initiatives
Private international law issues of collective redress
Mass harm situations very often include a cross-border element. Products, goods and services of all kinds are distributed and offered all over Europe. Damage arising from the violation of consumer contracts or defective products may thus entitle persons and tort victims domiciled in different Member States to claim compensation from the liable party. Also mass accidents such as a train or plane crash, naval accidents or incidents like the capsize of the Italian Cruise Ship "Costa Condordia" in January 2012 as well as cases of environmental pollution will often harm victims domiciled in various Member States. Cross-border collective redress proceedings offer the chance of pooling all or at least a large number of claims arising from the same tortious act or violation of legal regulations, but they raise complex issues of private international law.
For further details on international jurisdiction, parallel proceedings, recognition and enforcement and applicable law, click on Cross-border problems