Directive 2020/1828: a new era for “European class actions”?

Diego Agulló Agulló – Assistant Professor of Private International Law – Universidad Pontificia Comillas (Madrid, Spain) 

1. Introduction

Consumer protection is a pillar of the regulatory strategy of the European Union legislator. In this context, one of the issues that has been debated for many years is the possibility of introducing representative actions for consumer protection, a European version of American class actions, in the different Member States. The goal of this legal transplant is, on the one hand, to favor access to justice for consumers in scenarios of mass damages and, on the other hand, to deter future wrongdoings harmful to consumers by companies operating in the European Union.

Since the publication in 2008 of the White Paper on damages actions for breach of the EC antitrust rules, many legislative instruments of different types have been published within the European Union in the field of consumer collective protection. Also in 2008, the Green Paper on consumer collective redress and, a year later, Directive 2009/22/EC — the latter marking a turning point in the European regulatory framework for collective redress– stand out. Directive 2009/22/EC urges Member States to ensure the implementation in their respective legal systems of actions for injunctions for acts of non-compliance with EU law that harm consumers. Mention should also be made of the Commission’s important Recommendation on Common Principles applicable to collective injunctions or redress mechanisms in the Member States in the event of infringement of rights recognized by European Union law.

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