While litigation by multiple claimants is possible in the UK in certain circumstances, there is currently no procedure which provides for class actions of the kind seen in the United States.
However, the Government has announced that it intends to introduce an "opt-out" collective action regime specifically for claims based on antitrust law. This proposal, which is described in more detail below, is specifically designed to encourage more antitrust litigation under the mistaken premise that this will stimulate the economy. The proposal is being fiercely opposed by ILR. (Read ILR's letter to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and accompanying comments on the Government's proposals).
Separately, the Government is expected to bring into force on April 1, 2013 a package of significant changes relating to civil litigation costs and funding in England & Wales. These changes include, most notably, lifting the prohibition which currently prevents lawyers from conducting litigation in return for contingency fees.
The changes in the way litigation will be funded, the possible introduction of opt-out class actions and the continuing growth of a litigation funding industry which is not subject to specific regulation, suggest that the UK is showing ever greater openness to the mechanisms which have led to litigation abuse in other jurisdictions. It is thus travelling down a dangerous road. ILR continues to campaign to highlight the risks to the UK government.
- Class Actions Around the World
- Tort Import
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act