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Class Actions and Settlement Culture in Canada

Christopher Hodges and Astrid Stadler, Resolving Mass Disputes: ADR and Settlement of Mass Claims (Edward Elgar, 2013)

21 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2013  

Jasminka Kalajdzic

University of Windsor - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 15, 2013

Abstract

Mass harm exerts enormous pressure on civil justice systems to provide efficient but fair procedures for redress. In this context, settlement of mass disputes is easily understood as a common good. Yet settlements involving hundreds or thousands of claims, often across jurisdictions, raise concerns about the substantive fairness of the compromise reached by lawyers, and the ability of the court system to ensure meaningful oversight. Unburdening the judicial system from mass claims comes at a price; how much rough justice are we prepared to accept?

The difficulty of balancing these competing interests is ubiquitous. Canadian class action settlement practice is no exception. In this book chapter, I first explore the realities of this form of litigation, and to some extent debunk the myth that class actions inevitably result in large monetary settlements. I then turn to a brief discussion of the incentives and disincentives to settle large claims, for both plaintiffs’ lawyers and defendants. In Part III, I describe and critique the judicial framework for the approval of proposed settlements. I finish by pointing out the lack of alternatives to class proceedings and conclude that, though not perfect, the Canadian class action settlement system stands as a model for consideration by other jurisdictions wrestling with the problem of mass disputes.

Keywords: class actions, settlement, ADR

JEL Classification: K00, K41

Suggested Citation

Kalajdzic, Jasminka, Class Actions and Settlement Culture in Canada (September 15, 2013). Christopher Hodges and Astrid Stadler, Resolving Mass Disputes: ADR and Settlement of Mass Claims (Edward Elgar, 2013) . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2355396

Jasminka Kalajdzic (Contact Author)

University of Windsor - Faculty of Law ( email )

401 Sunset Avenue
Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4 N9B 3P4
Canada

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