Litigating Private Enforcement in the UK and the Netherlands

Law & Economics workshop organised by Concurrences Review in partnership with White & Case and CRA.

Peter Freeman

Three interesting topics in private enforcement in the UK are (i) collective actions, (ii) the fast track procedure and (iii) the issues raised by competition law in commercial litigation.

First, regarding collective actions, a new regime was introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The old Section 47B was not working very well and the Government concluded that consumers were not getting effective redress under that rather limited system. The new Section 47B provides generously for collective redress on an “opt-in” or an “opt-out” basis, ahead of European harmonisation in that respect. The Government decided to entrust this regime to the CAT on grounds of its experience and detailed specialised knowledge – therefore this regime is only available in a specialist tribunal, although a lot of other competition litigation goes on in the High Court. Collective actions are a CAT preserve. In the original White Paper, the Government’s objectives for this regime were laid out clearly: what was wanted was an effective system for collective redress which avoided the perceived excesses of the US regime, i.e. punitive damages and contingency fees, which are generally not available under the collective redress regime.

Photos © Léo-Paul Ridet

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  • Court of Appeal Arnhem-Leeuwarden
  • White & Case (London)
  • UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (London)
  • CRA International (London)