EU takes baby step towards collective consumer court actions

{nl}{nl}{nl}Ghaqdabasket_logo.jpgEU takes baby step towards collective consumer court actions

Today, the European Commission is recommending that all EU countries adopt laws allowing victims to go to court as a group if harmed or suffering loss from the same commercial source.  When victims of defective products, it is often too difficult for them to individually defend their rights and they are left uncompensated.

It should be noted that Maltese consumers already have this facility in the area of consumer affairs.  The Consumers’ Association wished to refer to one of the recommendations which was recently made by the Kummissjoni għal Riforma Ħolistika fil-Qasam tal-Ġustizzja where it was proposed that the right towards collective court actions be extended to all other areas. 

The Consumers’ Association agrees to this recommendation as it had recommended the same approach during the consultation process when the Collective Proceeding Act was being drafted.

BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation, also published a press statement with the same title.  The Director General of BEUC, Monique Goyens, made the following comments:. 

 “It is a pity the European Commission has dragged its feet on this burning issue. The absence of a uniform collective redress mechanism has been a glaring omission of the Single Market for decades. 79% of European consumers have called for it, lamenting the fact their rights remain on paper. This is a basic question of access to justice.
 “The system recommended by the Commission disappointingly asks each person to sign up – automatic inclusion of all victims should be the norm.
“We need to see all EU countries now pick up the ball and run with it by including in national law without delay. After a generation, the Commission has taken this baby step and European consumers expect them to closely monitor the progress and at least fill the gaps where necessary.”

The Consumers’ Association – Malta joins BEUC in its recommendation that such a system should automatically include all victims while leaving the option to consumers not to participate if they do not wish. 

The Consumers’ Association – Malta encourages the Malta government to extend this right and also to amend the law to include automatic inclusion. 

Evelyn Chetcuti
Secretary General
11  June 2013