Overview of current 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
A short history of developments at EU Level
Consumer Policy Strategy for 2007-2013: the European Commission underlined the importance of consumer redress, indicating that it would consider "action on collective redress mechanisms for consumers both for infringements of consumer protection rules and for breaches of EU anti-trust rules" (EU Consumer Policy Strategy for 2007- 2013, COM (2007) 99 Final)
The accompanying data-gathering exercise on Collective Redress
- University of Leuven study on alternative means of consumer redress, including an overview of the national legal provisions on collective redress;
- a report on the Evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of collective redress mechanisms in the European Union
- a Study regarding the problems faced by consumers in obtaining redress for infringements of consumer protection legislation, and the economic consequences of such problems
Green Paper on Consumer Collective Redress 2008
Following a series of initiatives, including a brainstorming event on collective redress in Leuven on 29 June 2007 and a conference on collective redress organised by the Portuguese Presidency in November 2007, the Commission published a Green Paper in 2008 on Consumer Collective Redress, which provided a range of options from doing nothing through to proposing an EU judicial collective redress procedure.
2009 and 2011 Consultations
Following the Green Paper, a consultation paper was published in 2009, presenting an analysis of the impact of the options in the light of the replies to the Green Paper on consumer collective redress and to gather further information.
A further consultation was launched in 2011 entitled Towards a Coherent European Approach to Collective Redress, the purpose of which was to identify common legal principles on collective redress, and replies were made by 30 April 2011
This was then followed by the Commission's Recommendation published on 11 June 2013 which is designed to set out a coherent horizontal approach to collective redress in the European Union without harmonising Member States' systems (as described above).
Following the Ashurst study which illustrated that damage actions for breach of competition law are underdeveloped in Europe, the Commission published a Green Paper in 2005 on a number of possible options which could facilitate private damages actions. The resultant White Paper in 2008 included policy suggestions on antitrust-specific collective redress.
Commission recommendation "on common principles for injunctive and compensatory redress mechanisms in the Member States concerning violations of rights granted under Union Law". C (2013) 3539 Click here
Commission Communication "Towards a European Horizontal Framework for Collective Redress", COM (2013) 401 Click here
See also FAQ: European Commission recommends collective redress principles to Member States Click here
Press release Click here
European Parliament resolution of 2 February 2012 on 'Towards a Coherent European Approach to Collective Redress' (2011/2089(INI)) Click here
European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs - Towards a Coherent European Approach to Collective Redress - Draft Report - (2011/2089(INI)) (15 July 2011) Click here
See also Amendments 1-70, Towards a Coherent Approach to Collective Redress (2011/2089 (INI))- Draft Report- Klaus- Heiner Lehne (22 September 2011) Click here
Viviane Reding - Vice-President of the European Commission, EU Justice Commissioner Collective Redress - 'Examining the way forward Hearing of the JURI Committee: A horizontal instrument for collective redress in Europe?' (12 July 2011) Click here
European Commission - Towards a Coherent European Approach to Collective Redress (4th February 2011) Click here
Green Paper on Consumer Collective Redress (27 November 2008) COM(2008) 794 FINAL Click here
For further information, please visit the following webpage Click here