EU top court ruling exposes need for European collective redress tool

Today’s ruling by the European Court of Justice has limited consumer options for better access to justice in mass harm cases. It stated that European consumers cannot group their claims and go to one single court in their home country collectively when faced with the same misconduct and resulting damages by a company.

Last year, the Austrian Supreme Court had asked the EU’s top court if a consumer could bring other consumers’ claims to his/her home court – even if they live in other countries. This would have allowed consumers to team up to save costs and efforts compared to undergoing a court procedure individually. In 2014, privacy advocate Max Schrems had brought a claim against Facebook on behalf of 25,000 consumers from Austria and other countries before an Austrian court. The Court of Justice now has ruled that Max Schrems can only enforce his own claims before his home courts but not those of other consumers.

The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) says this judgement exposes a missing and vital piece of the consumer protection jigsaw, which is when many consumers have been victim of illegal behaviour and seek compensation because they are harmed by the same trader.



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