Marc Jones, a partner in our Commercial Litigation and Fraud teams, recently spoke at a webinar organised by UIA as part of its UIACapsules series comparing the UK and US experience of class actions. Marc spoke alongside California-based lawyer, Grant Davis-Denny of Munger, Tolles & Olsen LLP.

As class actions become more prevalent worldwide, several countries and states are looking to adopt class action systems. Some recurring issues arise within these systems, and the hosts hoped that discussing these in the webinar would be beneficial to those starting class action systems.

Marc made it clear in the webinar that he and Grant would be discussing the ‘opt-out’ US-style class action, as it is known in the USA. The UK has different types of group actions, and these were also covered. Group litigation in the UK has some significant differences from the opt-out class action system.

Marc started by discussing the advantages of class action systems, including the access to justice benefit of dealing with numerous cases in court at one time, as well as the commercial benefit with regards to costs savings. Marc explained that having a class action system is advantageous for a jurisdiction given the fact that so many cases are cross-border. Having this system in place is, therefore, useful for international cases.

There was also some criticism of class actions, specifically in the United States, and a discussion of the tighter regulation of class actions that has been suggested. Grant mentioned that the main issue is for unknown claimants and whether their interests are going to be fairly represented, given they give up control of their litigation to representatives. For defendants, it makes it easier for claimants to aggregate small claims, which can lead to an increase in claims.

The full recording can be found here (registration required).



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