Bogeymen, lunatics and fanatics: collective actions and the private enforcement of European competition law

Bruce Wardhaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The European desire to ensure that bearers of EU rights are adequately compensated for any infringement of these rights, particularly in cases where the harm is widely diffused, and perhaps not even noticed by those affected by it, collides with another desire: to avoid the perceived excesses of an American-style system of class actions. The excesses of these American class actions are in European discourse presented as a sort of bogeyman, which is a source of irrational fear, often presented by parental or other authority figures. But when looked at critically, the bogeyman disappears. In this paper, I examine the European (and UK) proposals for collective action. I compare them to the American regime. The flaws and purported excesses of the American regime, I argue, are exaggerated. A close, objective examination of the American regime shows this. I conclude that it is not the mythical bogeyman of a US class action that is the barrier to effective collective redress; rather, the barriers to effective, wide-ranging group actions lie within European legal culture and traditions, particularly those mandating individual control over litigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 23
Number of pages23
JournalLegal Studies
Volume34
Issue number1
Early online date04 Feb 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Class Actions
  • Competition Law
  • Private Damages
  • European Union Law
  • US Law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

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