Businesses: Opt-out Class Actions

House of Lords written question – answered on 13 March 2014.

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Photo of Lord Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why they intend to facilitate class action litigation by introducing an opt-out mechanism for competition claims.

Photo of Viscount Younger of Leckie Viscount Younger of Leckie The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

A collective action regime has existed in competition law in the UK since 2002, but it is not delivering redress to consumers. In the twelve years since the regime was introduced, there has been only one case in which fewer than 0.1% people eligible signed up. In addition, the evidence submitted to the Government’s consultation Private actions in competition law: a consultation on options for reform highlighted that consumers and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) have difficulty in obtaining redress for breaches of competition law. The Consumer Rights Bill reforms the private actions regime. The introduction of an opt-out regime is one of a range of measures aimed at facilitating redress to consumers and SMEs, with safeguards to ensure cases are targeted on those genuinely harmed by anti-competitive practices.

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