General Scheme of Representative Actions for the Protection of the Collective Interests of Consumers Bill 2022

The primary purpose of the Bill is to transpose Parliament and Council Directive (EU) 2020/1828 of 25 November 2020 on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers and repealing Directive 2009/22/EC (‘the Directive’) to permit a qualified (and designated) entities to represent consumers in a representative action (civil claim) where a trader has infringed their consumer rights under one or more of the legislative provisions listed in the Schedule in the general scheme.

The Scheme of the Representative Actions for the Protection of the Collective Interests of Consumers Bill 2022 aims to give effect to the Directive by creating a new civil litigation mechanism by which a Qualified Entity may act as the claimant party on behalf of consumers who have opted into a representative action against a trader in the High Court seeking either an injunction or redress, or both, against that trader for breach of one of the provisions of EU and Irish consumer protection law set out in Schedule 1 of the Bill. 

The Bill also creates a mechanism whereby an organisation which represents the collective interests of consumers, provided it meets minimum criteria and standards, may apply to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment to be designated as a Qualified Entity, in order to bring a representative action in Ireland or another EU Member States.

The Directive was part of “A New Deal for Consumers” package of proposals launched by the European Commission on 11 April 2018. There the Commission announced its aims to facilitate coordination and effective action from national consumer authorities at EU level and reinforce public enforcement action and better protection of consumer rights. 

This new law is an EU-wide response to recent mass consumer rights breaches by private companies, such as the 2015 car emissions scandal and the 2017 mass flight cancellation. It will allow for several cross border qualified entities to come together to represent EU consumers where they have been harmed by the same alleged infringement which has been caused by the same trader in several Member States. 

The proposal repeals the current Directive 2009/22/EC on injunctions for the protection of consumers' interests and aims to improve tools for stopping illegal practices and facilitating redress for consumers where a number of them are victims of the same infringement of their rights, in a mass harm situation.

Published by Commerce, Consumer and Competition

Topics: Competition and Consumer Policy, Your Consumer Rights