Across the EU class action legal procedures exist in one form or another, Ireland very much in the Minority.
Brian Hayes MEP said today that “our current legal system is failing consumers who frequently have to take separate legal actions to obtain their rights. We need reform when it comes to class action lawsuits. Having this provision is an essential pro consumer measure and Ireland is very much in the minority across the EU when it comes to this aspect of our legal code. At present, there is no provision for class action lawsuits in Ireland forcing people to spend thousands of euro when seeking compensation or redress.”
“The very existence of class action lawsuits could make businesses think twice before engaging in practices that may ultimately come before the courts. It could act as a strong preventative legal remedy. The tracker mortgage scandal is a case in point. Large numbers of people effectively defrauded could together have a much stronger case as a group rather then individuals taking separate legal actions alone. Establishing a legal provision for class action would reduce court expenses for consumers in the future. It also has a positive knock on effect across the entire legal system.”
“We need a class action provision in Ireland ultimately because it will improve judicial efficiency and make better use of court resources. I would encourage the government to accept and pass the current private members bill for multi-party action that is currently before the Dail as a long overdue legal reform.”
“What’s interesting is that Ireland is an outlier in the EU when it come to class action legal provisions. We are firmly in the minority by comparison to others in the EU.”
“For example, Belgium allows an authorised representative to represent consumers with opt-in and opt-out procedures. Consumers in Italy can bring collective action for claims related to standard contracts, non-contractual torts, unfair competition issues and unfair commercial practices. The claim can be brought by any member of the group, by an association or committee delegated by the group.”
“In the case of Portugal a system exists where a citizen, consumer organisation as well as public bodies can file actions. The time has come to move ahead on this issue and provide the correct legal remedy for people who need to come together as a group to tackle abuse or fraud” concluded MEP Hayes.