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Consumers agree that safeguards are essential to collective actions
On 28 September 2017, AmCham EU, BusinessEurope, Eurochambres and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched the results of the ‘Supporting Safeguards’ survey carried out by WorldThinks on behalf of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR).
Věra Jourová, the EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality gave the keynote address. She took this opportunity to announce the next steps in delivering a ‘New Deal for Consumers’, particularly with regards to the future of collective redress in the EU.
Over 50 years ago the US created the class action lawsuit (known in Europe as collective redress), allowing a group of people to act together in court against a party who harmed them. These types of lawsuits are relatively new to the European Union but exist in some form or another in most Member States.
The ILR survey was carried out in six EU countries (France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK) and involved over 6,000 respondents. Results show a strong support for including consumer safeguards in any new collective redress mechanism in the EU. It also reveals that consumers are in favour of using existing mechanisms before triggering a collective action: 76% fully agree that such action should only be allowed after the parties try to resolve the issue in an alternative manner, which is most often quicker and less expensive.
AmCham EU expressed similar concerns over the summer. The safeguards proposed by the Commission’s Recommendation of 11 June 2013 should be effectively implemented by EU Member States to deter abusive litigation. The Commission will publish a report assessing the Recommendation’s implementation by the end of October or in early November 2017.
As the number of collective redress cases in the EU is increasing, safeguards against potential excesses need to be maintained, strengthened and enforced. The future regulatory framework should prevent creating a culture of abusive litigation.
More on the speakers:
Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality
Susan Danger, AmCham EU
Presentation of survey:
Lisa Rickard, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform
Ben Shimshon, World Thinks
Ken Daly, Sidley Austin LLP
Heiko Willems, BusinessEurope
Leena Linnainmaa, Finland Chamber of Commerce, Eurochambres
For more information on consumer-related issues, please contact Stéphanie Brochard, Senior Policy Adviser (SBR@amchameu.eu).