After years of intensive debates on either sectoral instruments or a horizontal instrument, the European Commission released its long-awaited communication on collective redress on 11 June 2013. To those that have followed the discussions, it will not come as a surprise that the Commission is not proposing a harmonised horizonal EU collective procedure. Instead, it recommends a series of common, non-binding principles for collective redress mechanisms in the Member States that – in the words of Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding – respects the very different traditions in the Member States. The press release, text of the communication and recommendations are available here. The news item reads as follows:
The European Commission has today set out a 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. By recommending to Member States to put in place national collective redress mechanisms the Commission wants to improve access to justice, while ensuring appropriate procedural guarantees to avoid abusive litigation. The Recommendation complements the proposal for a Directive on antitrust damage actions (see IP/13/XXXX) harmonising procedural law issues relating to private enforcement other than collective redress.
Let the (academic) debate continue!
Thanks to Steefan Voet, University of Ghent for the ‘tip-off’.