Document Type



Vanderbilt Law Review, Vol. 62, 2009


This paper considers Europe's experiment with aggregate litigation in light of American experience. European thinking on the topic appears to have reached consensus on two points: first, aggregate litigation will soon be the norm for Europe; and second, whatever form European aggregate litigation takes, it will not replicate American class action litigation with its domination by entrepreneurial plaintiffs' attorneys. We first examine four sources of dissatisfaction with the class action to assess which are meritorious, which are ill-founded, and which derive from a deeper debate over whether or not there should be private legal accountability for consumer claims. Drawing on America's long history of collective enforcement, we then ask whether Europe will adopt the incentives and institutional arrangements necessary to make aggregate litigation an effective remedy. Our concern is that Europe's revulsion at accepting the reality of legal enforcement as an entrepreneurial activity may leave the incipient reforms without the necessary agents of implementation.

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