On 12 December 2008 the Civil Justice Council (CJC), the advisory body responsible for co-ordinating the modernisation of the civil justice system, published a final report containing a series of recommendations to the Lord Chancellor regarding the expansion of the collective action regime in the UK.
The 11 recommendations to expand the basis upon which collective actions can be brought were first made in the CJC's interim report published in August 2008 (see our e-bulletin of 29 August 2008 for more details). The recommendations remain essentially unchanged in the final report. They provide for the introduction of a generic collective action brought by a representative claimant on either an opt-in or an opt-out basis, subject to a court certification procedure and enhanced case management, with the possibility of damages being aggregated in appropriate cases and any settlement being approved by the court. The final report also contains draft amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules to govern the proposed mechanism.
The government is expected to respond to the CJC's proposals within six months, possibly by Easter 2009. Herbert Smith is currently researching the views of clients to record their concerns regarding collective action reform.