BRUSSELS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Only 13 percent of EU consumers support the European Commission’s current proposal to create collective actions according to a new, five-nation survey. Further, 67 percent of EU consumers believe that the European Union should not mandate collective action lawsuits without safeguards against abuse.
The new findings are part of a survey released today in Brussels by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) and conducted by WorldThinks, a global public opinion research firm. The survey included over 1,000 adults from each of five EU member nations: France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. The surveys have a mean +/- 3.07 margin of error.
“Without critical safeguards, the Commission’s proposal risks turning the EU into a global hub for abusive lawsuits that is as bad as the U.S. system,” said ILR President Lisa A. Rickard. “That idea concerns EU consumers, who oppose the proposal without safeguards to prevent runaway litigation.”
In the survey, significant majorities of EU consumers expressed support for specific safeguards that:
- Ensure consumers “opt in” to these cases rather than allow lawyers to include consumers in lawsuits without their knowledge (77 percent)
- Require cases to meet some minimum standards before a judge will allow them to go forward (75 percent)
- Obligate parties in the dispute to show they have tried to resolve their differences before bringing a lawsuit (74 percent)
- Mandate that only legitimate consumer interest groups can initiate cases (65 percent)
The study also examined attitudes about safeguards for third party litigation funding, or TPLF, which is the practice of independent financial firms investing in lawsuits such as class or collective action cases in return for a portion of the lawsuit proceeds.
The most popular safeguard for TPLF, which the European Commission did not include in its proposal, would have ensured that funders do not control lawsuits, a measure that 78 percent of consumers supported.
The full survey is available here.
ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the global, national, state, and local levels.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.