The Rise of Class Actions in the UK and Continental Europe: Risks and Opportunities

“The Rise of Class Actions in the UK and Continental Europe: Risks and Opportunities,” an article by Akin Gump partner Richard Hornshaw and counsel Jenny Arlington, has been published by Risk & Compliance.

The article looks at the rise of class actions from the standpoint of “risks and compliance challenges for a number of corporations,” but also from the standpoint of offering “business opportunities to certain market participants.”

The authors start by looking at the rise of class actions in the U.K. and Europe and the four factors driving that increase:

  • “[B]oth the judiciary and the legislature seem to be providing significant support enabling this development.”
  • “[L]egal issues which are prime candidates for collective redress have received increased focus globally.”
  • “[T]he economics of class action claims have shifted due to the rise of the attractive, on the claimant side, ‘opt out’ regime in certain jurisdictions, such as the Netherlands and the UK.”
  • “The litigation funding market has significantly matured recently which makes claims possible that otherwise would not have been brought for financial reasons.”

The article then discusses two recent notable claims in the U.K.—the Merricks v Mastercard claim, and the Lloyd v Google claim—and looks at the significant impact that the EU’s Collective Redress Directive, due to be adopted by each member state, will have.

The authors close by noting “There is no doubt that the risk of an aggregate litigation being filed against an organisation in the UK and the EU has significantly increased, and is certainly set to increase further in particular in light of the implementation of the Directive in EU Member States.  In light of that increased risk, organisations may wish to consider expediting any legal and compliance plans and programmes already in motion.”