A new law allowing groups of EU consumers to launch collective actions against traders has passed through the final stages of the legislative process and will enter into force soon.
This morning, the European Parliament endorsed the text of the EU's representative actions directive. A direct response to events like "Dieselgate", these measures are designed to facilitate the collective redress of mass harms in the EU.
The new directive will enable group actions on behalf of consumers for alleged breaches by traders of a wide range of EU laws, including consumer rights, product liability and product safety. These actions can be brought in one EU country, or cross border in multiple EU countries. Redress will include injunctions and compensation, as well as product repair, replacement and refund.
The measures do not go quite as far as introducing US-style class actions to Europe, but they do represent a significant shakeup of the consumer rights landscape (as we've previously blogged about). In particular, they make bringing large collections of claims a much more viable prospect for consumer organisations, and a much more threatening one for businesses.
The Directive now only needs to be published in the Official Journal, and then it will enter into force 20 days following publication. Member States will have 24 months to transpose the directive into their national laws, and an additional six months to apply it. This means we'll see representative action mechanisms in place across Europe by 2023.
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