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What is a Class Action Lawsuit and can we use this in the U.K?

Written by Lucio Morcillo Peñalver on 17 September 2015

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The main purpose of this article is to offer a brief explanation as to a Class Action and if it can be used in the United Kingdom.

A collective action or a Class Action is basically a legal action in which several people (members of a group) are involved in the same dispute and can sue on behalf of the entire class. It is regulated under the US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Rule 23).

Despite being a US term, many countries such as Italy, Spain, Argentina or Portugal have also started to legislate using similar legislation. 

Under the Civil Procedure Rules (“CPR”), there are two main methods by which claimants may bring a collective action:

- Representative actions under CPR Part 19 section II (Representatives parties): The Part 19 Section II literally says:

"(1) Where more than one person has the same interest in a claim

 –(a) the claim may be begun; or

(b) the court may order that the claim be continued, by or against one or more of the persons who have the same interest as representatives of any other persons who have that interest.

(2) The court may direct that a person may not act as a representative.

(3) Any party may apply to the court for an order under paragraph.

(4) Unless the court otherwise directs any judgment or order given in a claim in which a party is acting as a representative under this rule – (....)"

Basically this action would not has sense if the group of people do not have the same interest.

- A Group Litigation Order (GLO): The main characteristic of this figure is that it is an order made by the court. This is always decided by the court in order to get a better management of all the claims, so an application onto the GLO can be easily refused if the court understands that the application do not match with the global litigation case or cannot be managed as part of it.

If you'd like to know more about this article please send an email to Michael Coyle quoting the article title and any questions you might have, alternatively call the office number on 02380 235 979 or send an enquiry through our contact form.

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