An injunction is an order granted by a court whereby someone is required to perform or to refrain from performing a specific action.
The Injunctions Directive 98/27/EC ensures the defence of collective interests of consumers in the internal market by providing means to bring action for the cessation of infringements of consumer rights. Directive 98/27/EC has been substantially modified several times (new Directives have been added to the annex). In the interest of clarity and rationality, this Directive has been codified by Directive 2009/22/EC.
For this purpose the Directive sets out a common procedure to allow a qualified body from one country – which is usually a consumer representative body recognised by Members States authorities - to seek an injunction in another.
In particular, a qualified body can bring an injunction for infringements of national provisions transposing the EU Directives, for example infringements of consumer rights as set out by the Directives on:
unfair commercial practices;
unfair terms in consumer contracts;
distance selling contracts;
sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees.
Member States must designate the courts or administrative authorities to rule on proceedings commenced by qualified entities to bring forward an injunctive action. The Directive sets out certain conditions for their operation.
The Directive aims at ensuring that collective actions to protect consumers can be brought in the Member State where the business is located and therefore where the solution is most likely to be effective.