Definition of class action
Class action allows consumers who suffer the same damage from a professional to join together and take legal action. European class actions will soon be possible. This would be a good thing, as class action in France is too limited. Hopefully, the European institutions will succeed in providing European law with a tool similar to the American class action.
The class action, introduced in France by Law No. 2014-344 of 17 March 2014 relating to consumer law, is a collective lawsuit procedure that allows consumers who are victims of the same prejudice to group together and take legal action. The plaintiffs can thus defend themselves with a single file and a single lawyer.
In force since 1 October 2014, this new judiciary procedure aims to rebalance the balance of power between consumers and professionals. Nevertheless, this procedure has not been very successful in Europe.
The French class action: an action copied from the American procedure
Invented in the United States in the 1950s, the class action system has been adapted in several European countries. The European Consumer Centre has published a document on group action in France.
In France, the class actions initiated since the law came into force have concerned electronic communications, life insurance (failure to comply with the announced rate of return) and housing: undue charges for sending rent receipts, invoicing for remote monitoring of lifts.
Class action in Europe : a Pyrrhic victory for the consumer
The French National Consumer Institute website analyses nine class actions filed between October 2014 and December 2016.
These class actions remain limited compared to the US because lawyers cannot bring these actions.
Only consumer associations can do this. So there is a problem of financial means.
If the legislator were to introduce an amendment to allow law firms to bring such actions, they would necessarily develop.
Perhaps one day there will be a reform of group actions in Europe, but we no longer believe in it.
Our association puts you in touch with American lawyers
Our network of lawyers has found that there is no point in bringing class actions in Europe in 2022.
We have therefore entered into a partnership with American lawyers in order to bring class actions in the USA.
The most complicated part is to define the subject matter of the lawsuit and to be eligible to bring the action in the United States.
If the judge declares the class action admissible, we will do everything we can to negotiate a settlement thanks to the intervention of the American lawyer.