Comparative study on class actions in competition law infringements 165
harm caused by such illegal practices"2. In a similar opinion, embraced by the
European Commission collective redress is defined ”as a mechanism that may
accomplish the cessation or prevention of unlawful business practices which affect a
multitude of claimants or the compensation for harm caused by such parties”3.The
definition was seen in legal doctrine as an umbrella definition, which includes
group litigation, model case-litigation, actions brought by ombudsmen or
consumer organizations, collective settlements based on opt-out mechanisms4,
skimming-off actions and injunctions against unlawful practices5.
Collective redress mechanisms have its origin in the England of the 17th
century, where group litigation was used to solve damages action initiated for
damages resulted from action which affected more individuals simultaneously
where it was difficult to handle individual cases. Group litigation in England was
based on the practice of the English courts called "bills of peace", which enabled
multiple plaintiffs or defendants to resolve common problems by a single legal
action brought before the Courts of Chancery6. In order to initiate group litigation
three conditions needed to be met: the existence of many persons interested to
initiate a given claim; the presence of the material interest of every single
individual in initiating the claim; the existence of a group representative who
could properly represent and protect the interests of all of the members of the
group7. The institution of group litigation survived in England until the 18th
century (more exactly until 1850) when it was replaced by individual litigation.
Even class actions died for a while in England it became very popular in the
United States after 1850, especially for defending property and civil rights,
consumer’s interest and the environment.
2 See for more details, P. Këllezi, B. Kilpatrick, P. Kobel, Antitrust for Small and Middle Size
Undertakings and Image Image Protection from Non-competitors, Springer Publishing House, Berlin, 2014,
3 Commission's Staff Working document. Public consultation: Towards a Coherent European
Approach to Collective Redress, 4 february 2011, SEC (2011) 173, p. 2.
4 A mechanism specific to multiparty actions, where the absent parties can benefit, or be bound
by the collective action even if they are absent from the proceedings, unless they take steps to
affirmatively exclude themselves, or opt-out of the lawsuit. This mechanism is opposite to the opt-in
mechanisms, also specific to multiparty actions, which require individual consent of the person in
order to be bound by the result of the collective action. See for more details P. G. Karlsgodt, World
Class Actions: A Guide to Group and Representative Actions around the Globe, Oxford University Press,
Oxford, 2012, p. xl.
5 See for more details, D. Fairgrieve, E. Lein, Extraterritoriality and Collective Redress, Oxford
University Press Publishing, Oxford, 2012, p. 108 and, also B. Hess, ”Collective Redress and the
Jurisdictional Model of the Brussels I Regulation”, p. 59 in A. Nuyts, N. E. Hatzimihail (coord.), Cross-
Border Class Actions. The European Way, Sellier European Law Publishers, Munich, 2014.
6 D. R. Hensler et al., Class Action Dilemmas: Pursuing Public Goals for Private Gains, RAND
Publishing, Santa Monica, 2000, p. 10.
7 See also S. Wrbka, St. Van Uytsel, M. Siems, Collective Actions, Cambridge University Press,
Cambridge, 2012, p. 127.