From the European Justice Forum
The Commission proposal on collective redress is unbalanced and misses the opportunity of effectively improving consumer’s access to justice
Following the release of the New Deal for Consumers package and of the Directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers, Ekkart Kaske, Executive Director of the European Justice Forum, has declared:
“We regard this proposal as being several steps backwards from the position advocated by the European Commission in its own reasonably well-balanced recommendations on collective redress issued in 2013. We are concerned that the new proposal might have been driven more by a political desire to react to the Dieselgate experience, rather than by the principles of Better Regulation adopted by the European Commission.”
While the European Justice Forum understands and appreciates the efforts of the European Commission to provide answers to consumers who suffer torts, we are deeply concerned with the solution proposed, which tries to find a simplistic solution for a complex problem. We regret to see that the proposal encourages collective actions in court, instead of envisaging this as a last resort and offering better alternatives such as regulatory redress and Alternative Dispute Mechanisms. We are also concerned by the lack of sufficient safeguards included in the proposal, which ignores the very principles enshrined in the 2013 Recommendation. The current proposal does not provide sufficient guarantees on a number of fundamental aspects, including funding, qualified entities and the opt-in principle. We also see a serious risk of forum shopping both between public and private qualified entities and also between different Member States, since the proposal does not provide sufficient harmonisation.
In sum, the current proposal misses an important opportunity to effectively improve consumers’ access to justice by providing timely, affordable and efficient out-of-court redress solutions.
“We need to have a thoroughly evidence-based approach” – said Mr Kaske, adding that – “EJF is ready to put the Association’s decade-long comparative research experience in assessing collective redress instruments across Europe at the service of the European institutions. In the interest of consumers, let’s work together towards a fair, effective and well-balanced collective redress mechanism”.
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