ZWeR 2016, 388

RWS Verlag Kommunikationsforum GmbH, Köln RWS Verlag Kommunikationsforum GmbH, Köln 2199-1723 Zeitschrift für Wettbewerbsrecht ZWeR 2016 AufsätzeAlexandra P. Mikroulea*

“Collective Redress” in European Competition Law

Opt-in or opt-out? That is the basic question to be answered. The decision to promote actions of “opt-in” type as opposed to those of the “opt-out” type, for the sake of private autonomy, does not ensure the effective application of european competition law. On the contrary, it may decrease the application’s intensity and effectiveness. Recent reforms among European state members such as in the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway are powerful indications that the opt-out principle may result in the effective implementation of competition law. There is no doubt that a mixed system (hybrid system), providing the court with the power to decide in favour of either the opt-in or the opt-out system, will result in better implementation of competition law. At the present time there are two pending cases in England (Dorothy Gibson and Mastercard) for which the decision on opt-out or opt-in are highly anticipated. Should the court decide, in one or both of the cases, on an opt-out approach, this will bring a momentous reevaluation of the entire collective redress concept.


  • I. Introductory Observations
  • II. EU Recommendation on Injunctive and Compensatory Collective Redress – Collective Redress Recommendation (2013/396/EU)
    • 1. Non-binding Nature
    • 2. Broad scope
    • 3. Purpose: Access to Justice and not enhancing the effectiveness of competition law
    • 4. Opt-in v. Opt-out
    • 5. Representative actions
    • 6. Financing
    • 7. Loser pays principle
    • 8. No punitive damages
  • III. Collective Redress: Comparative Overview in the various legal systems
    • 1. Group actions in the USA legal system (class actions)
    • 2. Collective actions of relevant European States
      • 2.1 Denmark
      • 2.2 Norway
      • 2.3 Germany
      • 2.4 Italy
      • 2.5 France
      • 2.6 Belgium
      • 2.7 Netherlands
      • 2.8 United Kingdom
      • 2.9 Portugal
      • 2.10 Poland
      • 2.11 Greece
  • IV. Analysis of the Legal Framework – De lege ferenda perspectives
    • 1. The fundamental option: participation system (opt-in) or exemption system (opt-out) or a combination of the two depending on the nature of the dispute
    • 2. Financing of collective actions
      • 2.1 Financial motives
      • 2.2 Legal Fees
      • 2.3 Financing by private parties
      • ZWeR 2016, 389
      • 2.4 Financing by a support fund
      • 2.5 Legal expenses insurance
    • 3. Calculation of damages
  • V. UK Voluntary Redress Scheme. Alternative to collective redress?
  • VI. Final Remarks
Associate Professor, Athens University Law School

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