Civil society calls for an EU collective redress mechanism to protect all fundamental rights, not only for consumers

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Article
8 January 2018

Civil Society Joint Statement on Collective Redress

Author: ECCJ, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth Europe, Health & Environment Alliance, European Environmental Bureau, Birdlife, Client Earth, FIDH, CORE, Human Rights International Corner

... [T]he power imbalance between individuals and large companies can effectively block victims of harm caused by business activities from seeking redress through judicial means, as the costs and risks are too high for the average individual. The solution to this problem lies in enabling effective means for collective redress at the EU level.

...Collective redress is widely recognised by both international and European human rights bodies, as well as European institutionsand civil society, as a key tool for the protection of fundamental rights in cases concerning violations by business entities.

...EU Commissioner Věra Jourová announced plans for collective redress exclusively for consumers. Whilst this would be a positive step, it would be a departure from the Commission’s pre-existing horizontal approach to rights protection.

...Violations of fundamental rights, including environmental, labour, anti-discrimination, privacy; as well as harm from breaches of business competition rules, can cause even more egregious harm than that suffered by consumers. The current disharmonised patchwork of collective redress across the EU also means some companies are more easily subjected to class-action litigation than others, depending on where they operate within the Single Market. This is creating an unfair playing field for business.

...[T]he undersigned organisations call on the EU and its Member States to...Prepare a legislative proposal for EU collective redress that applies to all instances of harm caused by corporate entities including that which in nature relates to the environment, privacy, discrimination, or which in any way violates fundamental rights.

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Report
21 December 2017

EU Collective Redress for victims of corporate harm

Author: ECCJ

Collective Redress (otherwise known as class-action) is a crucial access to justice tool for all victims of mass corporate harm situations, as it allows them to bring their claims together against a common defendant.

This significantly reduces major access to justice barriers typically faced by individuals, in particular the prohibitively high costs associated with litigating against well-resourced corporations. Collective redress should be available for all situations where mass violations of human and fundamental rights has occured, including those associated with the environment, labour, anti-discrimination, privacy; as well as consumer and competition matters.

ECCJ is currently advocating for collective redress across the EU, and in particular for an EU directive which grants those who have suffered corproate harm the right to bring their claims together as a means to obtaining effective remedy.

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