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The Class Action in Common Law Legal Systems

A Comparative Perspective

By: Rachael Mulheron
Media of The Class Action in Common Law Legal Systems
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Published: 15-11-2004
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 616
ISBN: 9781841134369
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP : £120.00

: 14 -21 days

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Loren Epson

About The Class Action in Common Law Legal Systems

Multi-party litigation is a world-wide legal process, and the class action device is one of its best-known manifestations. As a means of providing access to justice and achieving judicial economies, the class action is gaining increasing endorsement - particularly given the prevalence of mass consumerism of goods and services, and the extent to which the activities and decisions of corporations and government bodies can affect large numbers of people.

The primary purpose of this book is to compare and contrast the class action models that apply under the federal regimes of Australia and the United States and the provincial regimes of Ontario and British Columbia in Canada. While the United States model is the most longstanding, there have now been sufficient judicial determinations under each of the studied jurisdictions to provide a constructive basis for comparison. In the context of the drafting and application of a workable class action framework, it is apparent that similar problems have been confronted across these jurisdictions, which in turn promotes a search for assistance in the experience and legal analysis of others.

The book is presented in three Parts. The first Part deals with the class action concept and its alternatives, and also discusses and critiques the stance of England where the introduction of the opt-out class action model has been opposed. The second Part focuses upon the various criteria and factors governing commencement of a class action (encompassing matters such as commonality, superiority, suitability, and the class representative). Part 3 examines matters pertaining to conduct of the action itself (such as becoming a class member, notice requirements, settlement, judgments, and costs and fees).

The book is written to have practical utility for a wide range of legal practitioners and professionals, such as: academics and students of comparative civil procedure and multi-party litigation; litigation lawyers who may use the reference materials cited to the benefit of their own class action clients; and those charged with law reform who look to adopt the most workable (and avoid the unworkable) features in class action models elsewhere.

Table Of Contents

Part I The Class Action Introduced
Chapter 1 Introduction; Chapter 2 Features of Modern Class Action Regimes; Chapter 3 Objectives of Class Action Regimes; Chapter 4 A Different Approach for England
Part II Commencement of the Class Action
Chapter 5 Suitability for Class Action Treatment; Chapter 6 The Requisite Commonality; Chapter 7 The Requisite Superiority; Chapter 8 Assessing the Class Representative
Part III Conduct of the Class Action
Chapter 9 Shaping the Class Membership; Chapter 10 Potential Impediments to Ongoing Conduct; Chapter 11 Monetary Relief; Chapter 12 Costs and Funding of Class Actions


“…a concise examination…it will provide an excellent source for those new to this subject, offering clear discussion of the major themes and extensive references to further reading…” –  Jillaine Seymour, Cambridge Law Journal, Volume 65/1

“…well organized and clearly written, especially in the light of the vast amount of legislation, policy reports, and cases that she assembles and analyzes…It is a masterful work. No policymaker, lawyer, professor, or judge with a significant interest in this type of litigation should be without this book.” –  W.A. Bogart, Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice

“It is both of high academic merit and practical use. Whilst clearly there are complexities in class action proceedings, these complexities do not follow through into the author's explanations….an invaluable resource for any Law Reform Commission or Legal Advisory Body researching class actions. The text is a 'must have' for any Australian law library and for any academic or practitioner involved in class action proceedings. It is pretty good value too given the cost of legal texts in this day and age.” –  Warren Pengilley, Newcastle Law Review

“...refreshingly free of the turgid prose that is often associated with academic works. It will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers.” –  The Commonwealth Lawyer: Journal of the Commonwealth Lawyers' Association

“...a welcome, substantial, and valuable contribution...essential reading” –  Susan M.C. Gibbons, Law Quarterly Review

“..a noteworthy and timely endeavor,..aimed not only at professionals needing an up-to-date overview of several regimes, but also at comparative law and civil procedure scholars, who will applaud the attempt to disperse the fog and prejudices still attached to this type of litigation. …this is an important book, which lays out the current law concerning three 'grown up' class action regimes…essential reading..” –  Dr Carla Crifo, Civil Justice Quarterly

“…an exceptionally intelligent and comprehensive study of the class action as it has developed in a number of common law jurisdictions…There is an embarrassment of riches within the pages of Mulheron's study. The usefulness and scope of the material contained within this volume is much too plentiful to be adequately captured in this review. Mulheron often uses tables to contrast important differences between the jurisdictions, and there is a useful appendix containing relevant legislation. This book will surely be of great value to judiciary across the common law world, and should also be the first port of call for a practitioner confronted with a class action. Mulheron's comparative approach is also of substantial academic value.” –  John Townsend, Common Law World Review, 36 1 (72)

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