Upgrading the enforcement of consumer protection in the EU - some remarks on the proposal for a directive on representative actions

In April 2018, the European Commission initiated some changes in collective redress in the EU by introducing a proposal for a directive on representative actions (COM (2018)184 final). The proposal seems to be a light at the end of a tunnel for those who have been waiting for many years for a binding instrument for the European framework on collective redress.
The main change introduced by the Commission consists in the inclusion of compensatory collective redress mechanisms that would operate along the existing action for an injunction provided under directive 2009/22/EC. This concept is not new and it was raised by the Commission at least a decade ago. But, unsurprisingly, over the years it was strongly opposed by the business sector and some Member States. Therefore if the proposal is accepted in its current shape, it will be the first time that consumers are granted the right to pursue collective claims for compensation under EU law.
In what follows, after briefly discussing the rationale for the introduction of new procedural mechanisms, I will examine some aspects of the proposal which are currently being scrutinised by the European Parliament. The issues that I will discuss are as follows: the type of action proposed, the scope of the proposed act, the legal standing of qualified entities, the procedural regime, and the funding.

Dr Jagna Mucha is an academic visitor at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford. She works as an adjunct (assistant professor) at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw, Poland. Jagna runs a research project entitled “Consumer collective redress in group proceedings in the Polish legal system in light of the European Union law standards- achievements and challenges”, funded by the Polish National Science Centre (decision no. 2018/28/C/HS5/00083).