What are Class Actions?
Class actions are a legal mechanism that allow a group of individuals who have suffered a similar harm or loss to collectively bring their case before the court as a single action. This procedural device enables efficient resolution of disputes involving a large number of claimants with shared issues, increasing access to justice and conserving judicial resources.
In Class Actions, one or more individuals, known as the lead claimants or representatives, bring the case on behalf of the entire class, which can include potentially numerous members. These cases are particularly valuable in scenarios where individual claims might be impractical due to the cost, complexity, or size of the dispute.
Class Actions empower individuals to pool their resources and strengthen their position against powerful defendants, such as corporations or government entities, promoting fairness and equality within the legal system. They can encompass a wide range of legal issues, from consumer rights and product liability to antitrust violations and shareholder disputes.
Class actions in the UK can only be brought in the Competition Appeal Tribunal where corporates can be held to account for anti-competitive conduct. These actions brought on an opt-out basis i.e. you are presumed to participate in the action providing you fall within the definition of the class and you decide not to opt-out of the action. Other collective redress actions, beyond competition law disputes, tend to be brought on an opt-in basis in the UK although the courts are being invited to explore other opt-out mechanisms via the representative action framework.