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Luxembourg

Author: Laurens Victor Steinmetz

I. Overview

US style class actions are not part of Luxembourg Law and the New Code of Civil Procedure (Nouveau Code de Procédure Civile) (the 'NCPC') does not provide for such. However, claims may be joined and it is possible to ask the court to rule on them together, pursuant to Article 206 NCPC. Cases are joined in order to simplify proceedings, to avoid conflicting judgments and to save procedural costs.

Next to the simple joinder of claims, Luxembourg Law does provide for the possibility to start a claim either by way of a joint group action, in which each individual claimant needs to have both sufficient standing (qualité d'agir) and a legitimate and direct interest (intérêt d'agir), or by way of representative action, which may be brought in the name of a duly qualified organisation on behalf of its members. It is important to note that such a representative action can only be brought if the organisation has been granted statutory authorisation and is restricted to the protection of the collective interests of the organisation and does not extend to cover those of its individual members.

Article 23 of the Law of 30 July 2002 on unfair competition practices ('loi sur la concurrence déloyale, publicité trompeuse et comparative') introduced a sector-specific mechanism, allowing an individual professional group or accredited consumer association to bring summary proceedings ('procédure de référé') requesting the cessation of any infringement of the Law. It is not necessary to prove loss or damage, or even negligence on behalf of the other party. Most notably, it is not possible to claim damages on behalf of affected individuals. Moreover, the only organisation that has so far been authorised to bring such action is the ULC ('Union Luxembourgeoise des Consommateurs').

Representative action for the protection of the collective interests

A representative action may be brought in the name of a duly qualified organisation and on behalf of its members, but only for the defence of its collective interests and not the individual interests of its members.

Actions for annulment are open to public and private entities having moral legal personality and which exist for the protection of certain group interests, as long as the action is brought for the protection of their corporate or collective interests and that it has as its objective to benefit its members collectively as a whole.

As such, the entity representing architects was able to bring a claim in defence of the organisation's collective interests, as determined by its corporate object set out in its articles of incorporation (C.E. 9 juillet 1969, 21, 113). Similarly, the association of employers-mechanics-dentists was deemed to have sufficient standing to bring an action for the annulment of an administrative decision, which had put in jeopardy the collective interests of the association (C.E. 9 avril 1979, 25, 5).

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