Large-Scale Dispute Resolution in Jurisdictions Without Judicial Class Actions: Learning From the Irish Experience
ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law, Vol. 22, 2016, Forthcoming
31 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 1, 2016
Experts in civil procedure have often wondered how a legal system without a standing mechanism to facilitate resolution of large-scale legal claims would address such matters if and when they occurred. For years, the implicit assumption seemed to be that states without a domestic form of class or collective redress simply did not experience any type of large-scale legal injuries. As it turns out, these types of injuries do exist even in the absence of formal redress mechanisms, as the Irish experience shows.
This Article describes the various types of large-scale actions that have been brought in Ireland in the last twenty years and analyzes how those matters have been resolved in the absence of a permanent procedural mechanism addressing group claims. Though most of the disputes have resulted in what might be described as mass claims compensation procedures, the most recent matter – a product liability issue – seems to have triggered the adoption of a unique type of arbitration. This phenomenon is extremely important, since the legal world has long wondered whether a class, mass or collective arbitration could be brought if the jurisdiction in question did not already allow similar types of claims in the national courts.
This Article provides numerous insights into the resolution of various types of public and private claims, based on the Irish experience over the last twenty years. As the discussion shows, the Irish legal system has incorporated a number of innovative elements, including principles of restorative justice, that deserve wider recognition and analysis. This Article is therefore of interest to readers from around the world, particularly those who specialize in civil procedure and various types of large-scale arbitration. As the discussion shows, there is much the world can learn from Ireland.
Keywords: civil procedure, class actions, comparative law, Ireland, arbitration, class arbitration, large-scale arbitration, claims compensation, mass torts, ADR, product liability
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation