Collective redress: deal reached on EU-wide ‘class action’ regime

On Monday 22 June 2020, the European Parliament and the European Council reached agreement on draft legislation that will introduce a standardised ‘collective action’ regime. The new regime will empower qualified representative entities to bring collective actions and seek redress on behalf of groups of EU consumers in respect of infringements of EU law.

The Directive on representative actions forms part of the European Commission’s legislative package known as the 'New Deal for Consumers', focused on enhancing the protections generally afforded to EU consumers.

The announcement follows a decade-long push towards implementing a harmonised system of collective action measures across EU Member States, which in recent years has been accelerated due to the rise of high-profile mass tort litigation in the EU, including the PIP breast implants ‘scandal’ and more recently, the Volkswagen emissions litigation. 

The agreement remains subject to approval by the European Parliament as a whole and the European Council, following which the Directive will enter into force 20 days following its publication in the Office Journal in the EU. Member States will have 24 months to transpose the Directive into their domestic legislation.

Against a backdrop of an already increasing appetite for group litigation across the EU, it is widely anticipated that the Directive will trigger a wave of collective actions under the new regime.

The compromise text, as agreed on 22 June, is yet to be released. Once published, a further report by Kennedys will follow.