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International Union of Judicial Officers
Au service de la profession d'huissier de justice dans le monde depuis 1952
At the Service of the Profession of Judicial Officer in the World since 1952
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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurInstitutionsSéparateurEuropean CommissionSéparateurPublic Hearing on 5 April 2011 at the European Commission on Collective Redress
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Public Hearing on 5 April 2011 at the European Commission on Collective Redress

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The UIHJ participated on 5 April 2011 in a public hearing held in Brussels by the European Commission on the theme "Towards a Coherent European Approach to Collective Redress"

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Public Hearing on 5 April 2011 at the European Commission on Collective Redress
In the European Union (EU), when the rights of citizens and businesses are not enforced, the individual redress is open. European regulations were established. They are intended to enable parties to quickly obtain an enforcement title in cross-border small and uncontested claims. But what happens when there is a large group of people or businesses who are victims of the unlawful practices? Individual actions seem inappropriate to put an end to illegal practices or to obtain redress.
 
The EU wants citizens and businesses to be able to sue in court when they suffer harm as a result of a breach of EU legislation establishing substantive rights. According to the European Commission, "when citizens and businesses re victims of the same breach committed by the same company, bundling of their claims in a single collective redress procedure, or allowing such a claim to be brought by a representative entity or body acting in the public interest, could simplify the process and reduce costs”.
 
In this context, the European Commission organized an extensive public hearing. More than three hundred and fifty representatives of States, international organizations, consumer organizations, banks, legal professionals, businesses, and academics attended this hearing in the European Parliament building in Brussels. The UIHJ was represented by its first secretary, Mathieu Chardon.
 
The meeting included three topics.
 
The first topic was the possible added value of collective redress for improving the enforcement of EU law. Michou Paraskevi, Director, DJ Justice, chaired the discussions. Monique Goyens, Director General, BEUC, and Jerome Chauvin, Director, Legal Affairs Department, Business Europe, presented their views. Then the floor was given to the audience. It shows that, overall, collective redress seems to meet a real need.
 
The second topic touched the effective and efficient redress with safeguards against abusive litigation (including the role of representative bodies and funding). The discussions were chaired by Carles Esteva Mosso, Director, DG Competition. Graham Jones, formerly senior civil judge (England and Wales) and Benedicte Federspiel, Chief Counsel, the Consumer Council (Denmark) presented in turn the different aspects of the issues. Several speakers expressed their fears that introducing a system similar to that of Class Action in force in the United States.
 
The third topic discussed other general principles (including the role of a collective consensual dispute resolution and effective cross-border enforcement) and scope of a coherent European approach to collective redress. The discussions were chaired by Jacqueline Minor, Director, DG Health and Consumers. Presentations were made by Daniel Zimmer, Professor of Law (Germany), and Pawel Pietkiewicz, lawyer (Poland).
 
The issue of collective redress has been recurrent in the EU for many years, and no position has emerged yet, given the complexity of the issues and the interests at stake. The massive presence of participants shows that the question still arouses much passion. Time will tell if this very interesting consultation will have the same fate as the previous meetings or if on the contrary, it will be considered as the first step of a European solution.
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