There are two general collective redress mechanisms in the Lithuanian legal system. Both are contained in the Lithuanian Civil Procedure Code (CPC). One mechanism is the Protection of Public Interest proceeding (Article 49 CPC) and the second mechanism is a Group Action proceeding (Chapter 24/1 CPC). In practice, the Protection of the Public Interest mechanism is used to gain injunctive relief whereas the group action proceeding is used for both injunctive and compensatory relief. Both mechanisms are opt-in procedures.
One of the key differences between both mechanisms is standing. Legal standing for a claim to protect the public interest is restricted to a prosecutor, state, municipal authority or other persons identified in law. Therefore, precise conditions for standing under this mechanism are contained in specific laws, particularly sector specific laws. Under the group action procedure, there are no specific provisions on locus standi.
In Lithuania, a joinder of claims is possible (Articles 43, 44 and the specific rules in Articles 56, 113, 120, 186 CPC). Both injunctive and compensatory relief available via the joinder mechanisms. The CPC establishes two forms of joinder of claims: compulsory joinder and optional joinder. Compulsory joinder is used when claim is brought by several co-plaintiffs together or against several defendants if the subject of a claim is rights or liabilities assumed by them together in accordance with laws. Optional joinder is used when a claim is brought by several co-plaintiffs together or against several defendants if the subject of a claim is concerns rights or liabilities of the same nature, based on the same matter on actual and legal issues, when each separate demand could be a subject of an independent claim.
There is no out of court collective redress (collective ADR) mechanism in Lithuania.
As to remedies, the CPC prohibits punitive and/or extra-compensatory damages. The skimming-off/ restitution of profits scheme is not available in Lithuania.
As to costs, Lithuania follows the 'loser pays' principle. The CPC establishes special rules for the split of litigation costs between the group members. The dominating principle is equality; litigation expenses incurred by the party in whose favour the judgment was made shall be awarded by the court to the group action plaintiffs in equal parts.
As to funding,the Lithuanian Law on the Bar allows the use of success fees agreements. The CPC does not regulate either financing of the litigation, or contingency or success fees. Accordingly, there is no regulation of third party funding.
1. Lithuanian Law on the Bar. Law No IX-2066 of 18 March 2004.
BIICL has recently worked with the German public body, the Gesellschaft fur internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on a collective redress project....