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Access to justice

In a Europe of open borders, people can find themselves in litigation before a court in another EU country.

Legal disputes in another country can be costly, especially for large claims. Often, disputes within the EU require legal representation in the EU country where the case is heard, as well as legal advice from a lawyer, translations and travel.

Helping you defend your rights

People and companies can get help to enforce their rights in the EU:

  • mediation : if you are unable to settle the dispute by yourself, you can consider alternative dispute resolution mechanisms;
  • legal aid : the right to legal aid helps people who don't have sufficient financial resources to meet the costs of a court case or legal representation.

Collective redress

One single act or event can affect many people, who may all be victims of the same malpractice or crime.

They can take their case to court individually to defend their rights or claim damages. However, bundling their claims in a single collective redress procedure can simplify the process and reduce costs.

Collective redress is:

  • an effective means for making multiple claims less cumbersome
  • a vehicle that may attract abusive claims detrimental to businesses operating in a common market

What is the EU doing?

The European Commission in 2013 adopted a recommendation on collective redress, calling all EU countries to provide for collective redress in cases of infringement of rights granted under Union law. It sets out the principles that should be applied in order to facilitate access to justice and prevent abusive litigation. In January 2018, the Commission presented a report on the implementation of the recommendation in the EU countries. As follow up of this report and the 2017 Fitness Check of consumer and marketing law that assessed the Injunctions Directive 2009/22/EC, Directive (EU) 2020/1828 on representative actions for the protection of the collective redress interests of consumers  was adopted on 25 November 2020 on representative actions for the protection of the collective redress interests of consumers in the framework of the New Deal for Consumers. The Directive must be transposed until 25 December 2022 and relevant national provisions become applicable as from 25 June 2023.