Wrapping it up, 19 April 2008

Three items of note this time, one bulletin, two articles.

Lovells LLP’s class action practice has published its latest bulletin (April 2008). Several members of the practice contribute to it, a number writing about the respective European and US jurisdictions in which they practice. Contributions cover the latest developments in France and the possibility of its adoption of a group litigation procedure, the scope of Germany’s KapMuG and the European Commission and ‘collective redress’.

The first article is entitled Aggregate Litigation across the Atlantic and the Future of American Exceptionalism, by Prof Richard A. Nagareda, lecturer at Vanderbilt University School of Law. (With thanks to the Drug and Device Law blog.) From the abstract:

This article analyzes the emerging phenomenon of trans-Atlantic civil litigation on an aggregate basis - chiefly, though not exclusively, by way of class actions. European systems have shown a growing receptiveness for aggregate litigation, but treatments of this development have consisted largely of description. This article offers an analytical framework with which to anticipate the structural dynamics of transnational aggregate litigation in the twenty-first century.

For a quick reference of recent ‘developments in aggragate litigation’ in Europe, see the table from page 19 (20 of 47).

In the second article, in the The Times newspaper, Edwin Coe LLP’s David Greene politely warns ‘Hands off our claimants, please’. ‘Is there a head of steam building up to introduce US-style class action to Britain? Consumers will not be so lucky.’ Greene, partner and head of litigation, discusses among other things the export of cases by way of the US plaintiffs’ bar’s efforts ‘recruiting claimants in the UK’ and the corresponding growth of UK claimants’ participation in US actions. (In WV&Z’s view, ‘participation’ is moving to be and, once appointed, acting as lead plaintiff and not the just filling out and filing of a settlement claim form.) Cited cases include Vivendi, GSK and the English case MAN v Freightliner (opinion). He then goes on to discuss the flipside, the barriers of the development of ‘US-style class actions’ over here - ‘loser pays’, lack of contingency fees and ’simply the state of the law’.

Edwin Coe is the firm that represents 6,000 - the number is growing - private shareholders in the nationalised mortgage lender Northern Rock Plc. (Also see this article.) WV&Z waits with bated breath for that case to commence.

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