In July 2016, a proposal of a new Act on collective redress (the "bill") was released for public discussion. With its adoption, collective redress would be regulated for the first time by Slovenian legislation.
The bill provides for collective actions in disputes arising out of consumer contracts, manufacturers' liability, antitrust infringements, disputes between issuers and investors on the market in financial instruments and employment disputes. The second and third readings are planned for the end of 2016 or beginning of 2017. The bill also provides for collective settlements and injunctive collective redress.
In the case of compensatory collective redress, four phases are provided:
1. Approval: The court decides whether the claimant is able to represent the interest of a group of injured parties. The court dismisses the action or adopts a decision approving the action.
2. Opt-in or opt-out: The injured parties enter (opt-in) or exit (opt-out) of the group. An attempt at Mediation in accordance with the Act on Alternative Dispute Resolution in Judicial Matters is also possible. This phase is not required in cases of injunctive collective redress.
3. Decision-making: The court plays an active role in the proceedings and ends the proceedings by issuing a judgement. As a result, in the event of failure, a new action on the same subject matter in a civil litigation would not be admissible.
4. Enforcement: According to the principle of collective enforcement of claims, the harmed individuals are not parties to the proceedings. Instead, the action is brought for their benefit by a beneficiary organization or legal entity (such as consumer organisations, public prosecutor, trade union etc.) which do not have a profitable purpose.
The bill provides for the preservation of the fundamental rule of reimbursement of expenses, i.e. the rule that the losing party pays the costs incurred to the other party. The cost risk is therefore only borne by the parties to the proceedings. The claimant will have to disclose in its statement of claim whether there are any agreements on financing of the litigation or acceptance of cost risk by a third party, which the court will consider when deciding whether to approve the action. The bill provides for the principle of complete compensation for material and the principle of fair compensation for non-pecuniary damage.