Essentials – clear and brief

Representative Actions

Representative actions are a type of collective action where claimants are represented by an organisation/body. Those organisations can be in principle private or public. The objective of a representative action is to clarify questions regarding the breach of law and redress. More specifically, the European Commission defines it as “an action for the protection of the collective interests of consumers to which the consumers concerned are not parties”.

Why

The European Commission published a proposed Directive on Representative Actions in April 2018, as part of its New Deal for Consumers Package. This regulatory package also comprises the Directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules known as Omnibus Proposal, for which an agreement was reached in April 2019.

One of the main objectives of the European Commission is to allow each and every EU citizen to have compensatory collective redress tools at national level. The European Commission originally identified nine Member States which did not provide such mechanisms (Estonia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Latvia, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg and, Slovakia).

 

How

By introducing the representative actions’ proposal, the European Commission proposed to enlarge the scope of the former Injunction Directive by including a redress part. The suggested text couples injunction proceedings - which order specific action or cessation of action - with collective redress proceedings.

The current representative actions approach of the EU, however, should take into consideration the following points outlined by expert analysis and independent academic research:

  • More clarity is needed on the Proposal’s implications on cross-border litigations. The current proposal risks disrupting already existing, effective legal systems implemented in Europe.
  • More regulatory harmonisation should be achieved. The Proposal disregarded important safeguards that the European Commission recommended itself in 2013 to prevent abuses. This approach risks provoking a “race to the bottom” in regulation and consequently would lead to forum shopping.
  • Collective in-court litigation is an old technique: it is complex, costly, lengthy and open to abuse. The right approach should build on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms, such as ombudsmen or public supervisory bodies, which have proven to be more effective.

Where do we stand

On 22nd of June 2020, the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement during the 4th trilogue. COREPER adopted the result on 30th of June.

On 24th November 2020 the European Parliament formally approved the Directive on Representative Actions.

On 4th December 2020, the final text was published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The Directive entered into force on 24th December 2020. Member States had until 25 June 2023 to transpose the Directive.

Beginning of 2024, 17 out of 27 EU Member States have transposed the RAD. We expect that most of the countries will have finalized the transposition of the Representative Actions Directive by end of Q2 2024 - one year after official application in June 2023. For Austria, with no published draft in January and up-coming elections in autumn 2024, the transposition even in 2024 remains questionable.

 

Topics

Third Party Litigation Funding

Third Party Litigation Funding (TPLF) is an arrangement whereby a third party, who has no other connection to the litigation, finances some or all of a party's legal costs in return for a share of any proceeds of the litigation.

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Members

Join EJF

Our services are based on three main pillars: policy and legal intelligence, research and academic input, and communication of key messages.

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Mission

Goals

EJF’s goal is to ensure that the Directive on Representative Actions will build a coherent and harmonized civil redress system architecture in Europe.

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