International spread of collective redress

Recent comparative research on collective redress identifies the essential elements of a specifically European approach. This may lead the way to outlining a legislative and regulatory framework that could enable the political goal of facilitating access to justice while at the same time respecting the multi-faceted national aspects of civil justice systems across Europe.

Academic research on how civil justice systems evolve provides important insights that can help both to inform political and legislative debates and to improve our understanding of how specific instruments – such as collective redress – work in practice.

Against the background of political efforts to facilitate access to justice, which both the European Commission and many of the EU member states pursue, the implications of a more profound understanding of how civil justice instruments work are potentially huge. The intended policy framework is founded on the goals of facilitating swift, fair and just dispute resolution at low cost and must satisfy expectations regarding access to justice, rectification of market distortion or misbehavior. It must also strengthen public confidence in efficient enforcement and in dissuading and preventing abuse.

If comparative research can help determine which instruments are most efficient and effective in providing redress under the above conditions, then politicians and legislators can work towards regulatory solutions that build on these insights. Swift, effective and cheap conflict resolution benefits all: consumers, businesses, taxpayers and regulators. That is why Swiss Re supports academic research into collective redress instruments and how they work.

Interview with Dr Christopher Hodges

Dr Christopher Hodges, Head of the CMS Research Programme on Civil Justice Systems at Oxford University's Centre for Socio-Legal Studies has conducted extensive research into this topic. Watch this brief video in which he discusses recent research findings with Urs Leimbacher, Swiss Re.

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