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Access to Justice?

Maybe there’s a necessary correlation between shocking bumbling incompetence (as in the case of sometime EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy) and a prediliction to patronise.

Whatever the case, we see it in the EU Commission plan to “give” a class-action procedural right to EU citizens. Mr. Almunia is in charge of this. He says, confusingly, that;

“…only state bodies and certified non-profit organisations would be allowed to bring actions, and that any damages awarded would go entirely to victims and not to the representative entity“

After an interview with Mr. Almunia the Financial Times wrote:

“Another thorny issue is whether to facilitate more private damages actions by the “victims” of competition offences, notably those who suffer from the higher prices imposed by cartels. Mr Almunia’s predecessor, Neelie Kroes, argued that such group actions could be a useful deterrent to illegal price-fixing. But corporate lobbyists warned about the dangers of introducing a US-style “class action” culture and Ms Kroes’ legislative proposals were stillborn.”

So, what’s it to be? A “state body” of the nanny state (headed by Patrick Neary?) or a right to personally litigate wrongdoing by corporate giants?

Of course, this begs the question; why has Ireland not already introduced the right to maintain class actions?

The answer is; they are opposed at a high level.

See our earlier post on the issue HERE.