Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Thursday, February 3, 2011

EU plans for a group claim directive resuscitated

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Thomas Lübbig (Freshfields) and Paul Nihoul (Université catholique de Louvain Law) summarize EU plans for a group claim directive resuscitated.

ABSTRACT: It took the then European Economic Community (EEC) from 1968 to 1985 to draft the EEC Product Liability Directive. Even the first genuine draft was only presented in August 1974, still more than ten years before the Directive finally saw the light of day. Admittedly, the EEC of those days was different from the European Union (EU) we know today. Still, discussions on the merits of a Product Liability Directive were similar to those being aired by key lawmakers in Brussels today on the merits of EU-wide group claim legislation. First, the Product Liability Directive brought about a significant change to the until-then largely untouched Member State civil codes and laws of tort, by introducing the concept of strict liability. Secondly, the Directive was considered to bring a dangerous invader species from across the Atlantic, raising fears of a US-style litigation forum that by definition would be prone to abuse.

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