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Lithuania

Author: Vytautas Mizaras

I. Factsheet

Scope

Two horizontal mechanisms available:

Action for protection of public interest (injunctive relief)

Group Action proceedings (both injunctive and compensatory relief)

Joinder of parties, consolidation of proceedings available.

Standing (Para. 4-7)

Action for protection of public interest

Standing is restricted to a prosecutor, state, municipal authority or other persons identified in law. Precise conditions for standing under this mechanism are contained in sector-specific laws e.g. consumer, competition and environmental.

The conditions indicated in para 4 (a), (b) of the Recommendation usually are established in the law or indicated by the court practice.

Group Action proceedings

No specific provisions on standing.

Problems/Incompatibilities with Recommendation principles

The rule indicated in para 5 literally does not exist in Lithuania, however, if the person does not meet the criteria established in the laws, the claim will not be accepted by the court.

Admissibility (Para. 8-9)

Early determination of admissibility questions.

Public Interest

Only locus standi is checked.

Group Action Proceeding

Upon receipt of a claim, the defendant has 7 days to respond. The group needs to be constituted between 60-90 days. The requirement of numerosity (20 members of a group) and commonality (group share common questions of law and fact, including protection of rights and interests)

Information on Collective Redress (Para. 10-12, 35-37)

Group Action Proceeding

Group representative must publish an announcement containing information about the group action. The court required to publish the existence of action on the internet site of court after acceptance.

Problems/Incompatibilities with Recommendation principles

No National Registry. Law does not indicate criteria/method for the announcement of information by group rep.

Funding (Para. 14-16)

No regulation of financing of litigation.

Problems/Incompatibilities with Recommendation principles.

No specific rules on the control of third party funding.

Claimant party not required to declare the origin of any funding to the court at the outset of proceedings.

No specific rules on whether the court is allowed to stay proceedings if the instances outlined in para. 15 of the Recommendation exists.

Cross Border Cases (Para. 17-18)

Apart from the Law on Consumer Protection, there are no restrictions.

Consumer Protection

Foreign plaintiffs are able to defend the public interest of consumers on the following conditions:

Firstly, they may act only when the activities of the sellers (suppliers) of goods and services, functioning in Lithuania, infringe the legal acts of the European Union, the list of which shall be approved by the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania. Secondly, they have an obligation to consult in writing with the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority. Furthermore, foreign plaintiffs likewise have to apply to the seller or service provider before bringing the claim before the court.

Expedient procedures for injunctive orders (Para. 19)

Depends on the type of injunctive order being sought. If preliminary: yes, if final: no

Efficient enforcement of injunctive orders (Para. 20)

Injunctive order supported by imposition of criminal liability for breach.

No specific rules on monetary sanctions in the regulation of collective redress. The general rule of enforcement and the Criminal Code are applied.

Opt In/Opt Out (Para. 21-24)

Opt-in for both group actions and public interest.

Group Action

Conditions prescribed by law (Art. 441 of the Civil Procedure Code)

a) Ind. Needs to express consent in written form

b) Statement submitted to group rep

Each member of the group action is able to exercise his/her right to leave the group, normally before the adoption of the final decision on the composition of the group by the court. A party may join the group after the stage of admissibility and certification if group rep. and defendant consents.

Problems/Incompatibilities with Recommendation principles

Member not freely able to leave the group before final judgement.

Collective ADR and Settlements (Para. 25-28)

Parties are encouraged to settle compensation disputes consensually or out of court. The court shall check settlement agreements concerning capability, imperative norms and public interests.

Problems/Incompatibilities with Recommendation principles

No appropriate collective ADR available

Costs (Para. 13)

Loser pays principle applies, however the court has a wide discretion as to what is "reasonable

"Lawyers' Fees (Para. 29-30)

Success/contingency fees allowed. Civil procedure code inserts requirement that only expenses that are reasonable and necessary recoverable. No cap in group action.

Problems/Incompatibilities with Recommendation principles

No restrictions on use of success/contingency fees

Prohibition of punitive damages (Para. 31)

Punitive or extra-compensatory damages not allowed. Skimming off/restitution of profits not available

Collective Follow-on actions (Para 33-34)

There is no specific requirement that the subsequent private proceedings start only after the conclusion of the public authority action. There are no special limitation rules in follow-on cases.

Problems/Incompatibilities with Recommendation principles

No specific requirement that the subsequent private proceedings start only after the conclusion of the public authority action.

Interplay between injunctions and compensation across all sectors

Group Action proceedings allow injunction and compensation within one single action in all areas. Possible to rely on injunction in separate follow on damages action.

Problems/Incompatibilities with Recommendation principles

No specific general rule concerning prejudicial facts exist in case the person was not involved in the proceeding

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