The "Consumer" bill n°1015 has been submitted on 2 May 2013 during a session of the Council of Ministers.
The key measure of this bill relates to the introduction of a French type of class actions in Articles L. 423-1 and following of the French Consumer Code. Pursuant to these provisions, a nationally representative consumer protection association authorised under Article L. 411-1 of the French Consumer Code will be entitled to act before the civil courts to obtain compensation for the individual losses resulting from damages caused to consumers' assets. To fall under the scope of a class action, the loss will have to be sustained by consumers in an identical or similar position and be caused by the same professional. Furthermore, the loss will have to result from a breach of the legal or contractual obligations of the professional, whether in the scope of the sale of goods or the provision of services or of anticompetitive practices.
In practice, the bill provides for three stages: (1) an examination and decisional stage regarding the liability of the professional, (2) a stage during which a group of consumers is defined following publicity measures ordered by the Judge and (3) a stage during which the professional compensates the victims' loss.
Pursuant to Article L. 423-8 of the French Consumer Code, the applicant association can take part in a mediation to obtain compensation for the individual losses. If this mediation leads to an agreement on behalf of the group, it will be submitted to the judge for approval and will become enforceable.
This bill will be submitted to the National Assembly on 24 June 2013.