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Class Action


Paweł Lewandowski

The law on class action is one of this year’s most important legislative changes. It is unquestionably a step towards improving the efficiency of court proceedings and facilitating access to courts for people who cannot afford to start a lawsuit by themselves. Whether this will trigger a revolution in the judicial system and unleash a flood of class action suits remains to be seen. Much depends on the legal culture of plaintiffs (mostly consumers) and court practice. 

Class actions are not possible in all legal cases. First, class actions can be started in cases involving consumers, tortious acts (but excluding the protection of personal rights) and liability for hazardous products. But this list does not include employee issues, for example. Second, a group on behalf of which a representative conducts a class action has to comprise at least 10 people. Third, the claims must be of the same type and the circumstances have to be the same. Fourth, the most important thing to remember, the “price” for filing a claim as part of a class action (and all the advantages this involves) is that all the group’s members agree on the amount being claimed (agreement may also take place within subgroups). One obstacle to class actions could be the deposit that the court can ask the plaintiff (in effect the whole group) to pay as security for the costs of the proceedings. This can be up to 20 percent of the value of the damages claimed.

Source: The Warsaw Voice, August 26, 2010

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