Minister of Justice Henriksson: Directive on representative actions means better rights for consumers

Ministry of Justice 28.11.2019 17.12
Press release

The Council of the European Union today gave the go-ahead for a directive on representative actions. The aim of the directive is to strengthen consumer rights.

Representative actions are intended to increase the consumer’s chances to receive compensation for losses they suffer as a result of traders infringing consumer rights legislation. The idea is to strengthen the enforcement of consumer rights in situations where the same product or service has caused harm to several consumer.

Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson said, “I am pleased that the Council reached agreement on the directive on representative actions. The opportunity to claim compensation by bringing a representative action is a pioneering step at EU level, and it should enable consumers to stand up for their rights more effectively.”

Under the compromise proposal approved by the Council, qualified entities (such as consumer organisations or public bodies) could bring an action on behalf of a group of consumers. This would avoid individual consumers having to defend their interests alone. The consumers’ representative would have the right not only to apply for an injunction against the infringing trader, as is already the case, but also to seek compensation for defects or to require the trader to repair or replace the defective product.

From the trader’s point of view, the directive would help prevent abusive litigation and strengthen legal security. It would also contribute to the proper functioning of the internal market by ensuring a level playing field for all traders.

There are currently major differences in member states’ national legislation on access to class actions or other forms of collective redress. Some countries do not recognise any kind of collective action.

As the next step before adoption, the Council and the European Parliament will start negotiations on the proposal during Croatia’s Presidency of the Council in the first half of 2020.

The Directive on representative actions is part of the Commission’s “New Deal for Consumers”.

Inquiries:

Niklas Mannfolk, Ministry of Justice, special adviser, tel. +358 50 306 3990, niklas.mannfolk(at)om.fi
Maarit Leppänen, Ministry of Justice, senior ministerial adviser, legislative affairs, tel. +358 2951 50276, maarit.leppanen(at)om.fi

Documents and other material on issues for public consultation can be accessed on the Council website

EU2019FI backgrounder: Representative actions