Class Actions Around the Globe

The United States is notorious for excessive litigation. A 2013 study by NERA Economic Consulting revealed that the U.S. has the highest liability costs as a percentage of GDP of the countries surveyed, with liability costs at 2.6 times the average level of the Eurozone economies. Unfortunately, many foreign governments are considering adopting one of the most problematic features of the U.S. lawsuit system – class actions. read more...

Class actions permit multiple claimants with the same claim to file a single lawsuit. Well-intentioned policymakers believed this would increase efficiency and access to justice. 

Unfortunately, they were wrong. Class action litigation has become a lawyer-driven business in which lawyers seek out reasons to sue and then file on behalf of hundreds or thousands of claimants. In the “opt-out” system, where claimants are in the case unless they take the initiative to remove themselves, most do not even know they are litigants. With so many claimants, the potential for huge damages looms large. Companies often settle meritless claims because taking the case to trial is risky, expensive, time-consuming and damaging to their reputation.

At the same time, class action settlements often provide little or no benefit to claimants. An April 2013 U.S. national opinion survey revealed that only 14% of those who were part of a class action lawsuit reported having received something of value, such as a cashed check or redeemed coupon. Four in five voters involved in a civil lawsuit said that lawyers benefit the most from class actions.

Some policymakers outside the United States are considering proposals to allow class actions, further burdening businesses in a difficult global economy while creating little, if any, real value for consumers. While some class action proposals differ in certain ways from the U.S. model, not every aspect of the American system needs to be present to create an unbalanced system with U.S.-type abuses. 

American businesses have experienced the class action system for many years and understand its perils. As a result, ILR is urging policymakers in Europe (both in individual countries and at the EU level), Asia, and Latin America to think twice before adopting opt-out class actions.



ILR Research Review - Fall 2017

November 30, 2017 | This special double-issue of the ILR Research Review features a wealth of insight and analysis on the world's rapidly changing litigation environment. The research contained in this issue targets exploitative litigation at home and abroad, examining numerous developments ranging from hyper-aggressive trial lawyer advertising in the U.S. to the imminent expansion of class actions in Europe.

The ILR Research Review - Spring 2017

May 08, 2017 | This edition of the ILR Research Review offers valuable insights from ILR's recent research on the latest trends in litigation and the tactics and strategies entrepreneurial plaintiffs' firms are using to expand their business models and bring more lawsuits in local, state, federal, and international courts.

All Results for Class Actions Around the Globe

Excessive Shareholder Class Actions Pose 'Real Cost' on Australia

June 19, 2014 | News and Blog

Meaningful reforms are needed to curb excessive shareholder class action lawsuits that impose a "real cost" on Australian businesses and society, writes Chris Merritt, legal affairs editor for The Australian. Read More »

In The News Today - June 6, 2014

June 06, 2014 | News and Blog

A group of Australian business organizations are backing the government's, "planned crackdown on opportunistic securities class actions and warned that the impact of this form of litigation is far greater than asserted by plaintiff lawyers," reports The Australian's Chris Merritt. Read More »

In the News Today - May 21, 2014

May 21, 2014 | News and Blog

More than 500 former National Football League (NFL) players have filed a lawsuit against the NFL, alleging the League supplied the former players, "with powerful painkillers and other drugs that kept them in the game but led to serious complications later in life." Read More »

Ripe for Reform: Improving the Australian Class Action Regime

Author: Moira Saville and Peta Stevenson, King & Wood Mallesons | May 13, 2014 | Research

This paper explores the Australian federal class action regime model and addresses areas for improvement, such as a class certification procedure; application of the commonality certification standard; and regulation of TPLF. Read More »

The Litigation Pandemic: The Rapid Spread of US-Style Litigation Around the Globe

October 24, 2013 | Video

At the 14th Annual Legal Reform Summit, this panel explored how class actions and other aspects of US-style litigation are taking hold in countries around the world, and to what effect. Watch »

In the News

September 25, 2013 | News and Blog

A week after six lawyers left a Plaintiffs Steering Committee, a lawyer has voluntarily dropped a bellweather transvaginal mesh case against CR Bard Inc. Read More »

In the News

September 24, 2013 | News and Blog

On Monday, BP asked a court to halt payments from the gulf oil spill settlement fund until the administrator implements recommendations to improve efficiency and accounting controls. Read More »

In the News

September 20, 2013 | News and Blog

As part of its $920 million settlement with US and UK regulators, JP Morgan has agreed to an admission of wrongdoing in the "London Whale" case. Read More »

Recent Cases Underscore Problems With TPLF

September 16, 2013 | News and Blog

"Investing in high-stakes lawsuits isn't for the faint of heart," writes Jennifer Smith in the Wall Street Journal. Read More »

Australian Press Highlights New ILR Proposal for Reforming Oversight of Third Party Litigation Financing

September 12, 2013 | News and Blog

In recent years, the use of third party litigation financing ("TPLF") in Australia has resulted in a notable proliferation of class actions and other funded lawsuits. Read More »

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