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A trend can be identified towards an increasing scaling up of mass claims. Expanding mass consumer markets with consumers shopping cross-border and on the internet create a high potential for large groups of consumers being harmed by the same or a similar illegal practice of a trader. The Commission is exploring ways to ensure that such consumer mass claims are solved. Collective redress could be a means to handle this type of claims.


The Commission's initiative on Collective Redress of 11 June 2013

Series of common, non-binding principles for collective redress mechanisms in the Member States so that citizens and companies can enforce the rights granted to them under EU law where these have been infringed. The Recommendation aims to ensure a coherent horizontal approach to collective redress in the European Union without harmonising Member States' systems. National redress mechanisms should be available in different areas where EU law grants rights to citizens and companies, notably in consumer protection, competition, environment protection and financial services.


CONSULTATION ON COLLECTIVE REDRESS

The main purpose is to identify common legal principles on collective redress. The consultation should help examine how such common principles could fit into the EU legal system and into the legal orders of the 27 EU Member States.

To read the consultation document, click here.
To read the replies to the consultation, click here.


Hearing on collective redress - 5 April 2011


CONSULTATION PAPER FOR DISCUSSION ON THE FOLLOW-UP TO THE GREEN PAPER ON CONSUMER COLLECTIVE REDRESS

Title: Follow-up to the Green Paper on consumer collective redress
Policy field(s): Consumer affairs
Period of consultation: From 08.05.2009 to 03.07.2009
Objective of the consultation: The aim of the consultation is to present the first working 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, preferably with concrete examples and/or figures on the concrete impact of the policy options, in particular on each national redress systems.

View the consultation paper

Feedback Statement summarising the results of the written replies to the Consultation Paper

Responses received on the Consultation Paper on the follow-up to the Green Paper on consumer collective redress

Disclaimer: These contributions have not been adopted or in any way approved by the Commission and should not be relied upon as a statement of the Commission's or the Health and Consumers DG's views. The European Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in these contributions nor does it accept responsibility for any use made thereof.

Protection of personal data

Specific privacy statement

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HEARING

See agenda for the Hearing

Feedback Statement summarising the Hearing of 29 May 2009

Disclaimer: The feedback statement has been produced by outside contractors for DG Health and Consumers and represents the contractors' views on the matter. These views have not been adopted or in any way endorsed by the Commission and should not be relied upon as a statement of the views of the Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in the feedback statement, nor does it accept responsibility for any use made thereof.

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GREEN PAPER ON CONSUMER COLLECTIVE REDRESS

Feedback Statement

Disclaimer: The feedback statement has been produced by outside contractors for DG Health and Consumers and represents the contractors' views on the matter. These views have not been adopted or in any way endorsed by the Commission and should not be relied upon as a statement of the views of the Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in the feedback statement, nor does it accept responsibility for any use made thereof.

Responses to the Green Paper on Consumer Collective Redress

Disclaimer: These responses and the analytical summary prepared by the external contractor have not been adopted or in any way approved by the Commission and should not be relied upon as a statement of the Commission's or the Health and Consumers DG's views. The European Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in these responses and the analytical summary, nor does it accept responsibility for any use made thereof.

Green paper on consumer redress BG CS DA DE ET EL EN ES FR IT LV LT HU MT NL PL PT RO SK SL FI SV

On 27 November 2008 the Commission has adopted the Green Paper on Consumer Collective Redress. The Green Paper sets out 4 options.These include: (1) No immediate action, (2) co-operation between Member States extending national collective redress systems to consumers from other Member States without a collective redress mechanism, (3) a mix of policy instruments to strengthen consumer redress (including collective consumer alternative dispute mechanisms, a power for national enforcement authorities to request traders to compensate consumers and extending small claims to deal with mass claims), (4) binding or non binding measures for a collective redress judicial procedure to exist in all Member States. A combination of different elements from these options is also open to consideration.

More information:

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STUDIES

I) Study on the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution in the European Union

The principal objective of this study PDF is to analyse the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) schemes, across the European Union.

Disclaimer: This study has been produced by outside contractors for the Health and Consumers Directorate-General and represents the contractors' views on the matter. These views have not been adopted or in any way endorsed by the Commission and should not be relied upon as a statement of the views of the Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this study, nor does it accept responsibility for any use made thereof.

II) Consumer Redress in the European Union: Consumer experiences, perceptions and choices

The study focuses on consumer redress. It examines real consumers' perceptions and experiences with different redress mechanisms. Personal interviews with consumers were held in all 27 Member States.

III) Evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of collective redress mechanisms in the European Union

The study is focusing specifically on collective redress in the EU. This study evaluates the effectiveness and efficiency of existing collective redress mechanisms and assess whether consumers suffer a detriment in those Member States where collective redress mechanisms are not available. It also examines the existence of negative effects for the Single Market and distortions of competition.

Part I: Main report

Part II: Country reports

Austria Italy
Bulgaria Netherlands
Denmark Portugal
Finland Spain
France Sweden
Germany United Kingdom
Greece

Disclaimer: The evaluation and problem study have been produced by outside contractors for DG Health and Consumer Protection and represent the contractors' views on the matter. These views have not been adopted or in any way endorsed by the Commission and should not be relied upon as a statement of the views of the Commission. In particular the views expressed by the authors on the adequacy of national systems are without prejudice to the opinions of the Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in these studies, nor does it accept responsibility for any use made thereof.

Part III : (cases collected): Austria - Netherlands - Portugal - United Kingdom

IV) The problems study

The study provides more information on the key problems faced by consumers in obtaining redress for mass claims, and analyses the consequences of such problems for consumers, competitors and the relevant market.

Part I : Main report
Study regarding the problems faced by consumers in obtaining redress for infringements of consumer protection legislation, and the economic consequences of such problems

Part II : Consumer attitudes towards available means of redress

Disclaimer: The evaluation and problem study have been produced by outside contractors for DG Health and Consumer Protection and represent the contractors' views on the matter. These views have not been adopted or in any way endorsed by the Commission and should not be relied upon as a statement of the views of the Commission. In particular the views expressed by the authors on the adequacy of national systems are without prejudice to the opinions of the Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in these studies, nor does it accept responsibility for any use made thereof.

V) Study on alternative means of consumer redress other than redress through ordinary judicial proceedings (Leuven study)

The University of Leuven has conducted a study on alternative means of consumer redress other than redress through ordinary judicial proceedings. The study includes an overview of the national legal provisions on collective redress.

Comparative report
28 national reports

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MEMBER STATE FICHES ON CONSUMER REDRESS

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CONSULTATION ON THE DRAFT CONSUMER COLLECTIVE REDRESS BENCHMARKS

I) Workshops on Collective Redress

The Commission has held three workshops on collective redress issues , on 21 May 2008, 29 May 2008 and 6 June 2008 in Brussels, with consumer organisations, the industry and legal practitioners

II) Benchmarks

In recent months, the Commission's services have identified benchmarks that should be respected by effective and efficient collective redress systems in order to ensure satisfactory redress for consumers. These benchmarks are set out below.

  1. The mechanism should enable consumers to obtain satisfactory redress in cases which they could not otherwise adequately pursue on an individual basis.
  2. It should be possible to finance the actions in a way that allows either the consumers themselves to proceed with a collective action, or to be effectively represented by a third party. Plaintiffs' costs for bringing an action should not be disproportionate to the amount in dispute.
  3. The costs of proceedings for defendants should not be disproportionate to the amount in dispute. On the one hand, this would ensure that defendants will not be unreasonably burdened. On the other hand, defendants should not for instance artificially and unreasonably increase their legal costs. Consumers would therefore not be deterred from bringing an action in Member States which apply the "loser-pays" principle.
  4. The compensation to be provided by traders/service providers against whom actions have been successfully brought should be at least equal to the harm caused by the incriminated conduct, but should not be excessive as for instance to amount to punitive damages.
  5. One outcome should be the reduction of future harm to all consumers. Therefore a preventive effect for potential future wrongful conduct by traders or service providers concerned is desirable – for instance by skimming off the profit gained from the incriminated conduct.
  6. The introduction of unmeritorious claims should be discouraged.
  7. Sufficient opportunity for adequate out-of-court settlement should be foreseen.
  8. The information networking preparing and managing possible collective redress actions should allow for effective "bundling" of individual actions.
  9. The length of proceedings leading to the solution of the problem in question should be reasonable for the parties.
  10. Collective redress actions should aim at distributing the proceeds in an appropriate manner amongst plaintiffs, their representatives and possibly other related entities.

DG SANCO launched a public consultation on the draft benchmarks asking stakeholders whether they

  1. agree with these benchmarks;
  2. consider other benchmarks to be important;
  3. consider that more benchmarks or fewer benchmarks are necessary;
  4. have experiences with existing mechanisms of collective redress, especially in relation to specific sectors and/or in relation to cross-border disputes.
DG SANCO received 70 contributions from consumer organisations, industry, legal practitioners and academics. Read the feedback statement on the benchmark consultation .

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EVENTS

I) Portuguese Presidency Conference on Collective Redress

The Portuguese Presidency organised, with the support of the European Commission, a conference on collective redress in Lisbon on the 9th and 10th of November 2007. The conference gathered politicians, senior officials, representatives from consumer associations, the industry and the retail sector, economists, legal practitioners and academics from across Europe.

The first day of the conference was dedicated to the discussion of the economic and legal challenges of collective redress.

Director General Robert Madelin's remarks during the economic panel

On the second day Commissioner Kuneva took part in a political panel discussion with high-level representatives from Member States and the European Parliament.

Closing remarks by Commissioner Meglena Kuneva

II) The Leuven brainstorming event

The Commission organised a brainstorming event on collective redress in Leuven on 29 June 2007. Representatives of all stakeholders discussed the advantages, disadvantages and underlying problems of collective redress schemes currently in place in the Member States, as well as the likely consequences of a possible collective redress mechanism at EU-level.


CONSUMER POLICY STRATEGY

In its Consumer Policy Strategy for 2007-2013 the Commission underlined the importance of effective mechanisms for seeking redress and announced that it would consider action on collective redress mechanisms for consumers.

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