On 4 February, the European Commission launched a public consultation "aimed at achieving a coherent approach towards collective redress" in the EU. The deadline for contributions to be submitted was 30 April 2011 and publication of the results are now expected.
As the Commission was keen to point out in its press release, collective redress must be distinguished from US-style class actions: collective redress includes injunctive relief as well as compensatory relief and can take many forms from actions in court to alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
Many forms of collective relief are available in some (but not all) Member States and injunctive collective relief already features in EU consumer legislation and environmental law. The question now being asked is whether the rules can be unified across the EU by identifying common legal principles and slotting them into the EU legal system.