The Reception of Collective Actions in Europe: Reconstructing the Mental Process of a Legal Transplantation

33 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2020

Date Written: July 25, 2020


The European collective action is probably one of the most exciting legal transplantation comparative law has seen. Collective litigation, which U.S. law did not inherit from common law but invented with the 1966 revision of class actions, has been among the most successful export products of American legal scholarship. Today in the European Union, seventeen out of twenty–eight Member States have adopted a special regime for collective actions. At the same time, collective actions are intrinsically linked to various extraneous components of the legal system; hence, their transplantation calls for a comprehensive adaptation. The need to rethink class actions has not only generated a heated debate in Europe about whether and how to introduce collective actions, but resulted in Europe’s making collective actions in its own image, producing something truly European: a model of collective actions à l’européenne.

This Article presents the process of developing the European collective action and its outcome. It represents the first attempt to give a trans-systemic account of European collective actions and to elucidate them in light of the peculiarities and idiosyncrasies of the mindset of European jurisprudence. Further, this Article gives an analytical presentation of the emerging European collective action model and demonstrates how it was shaped by Europe’s legal thinking and societal attitudes.

Keywords: Class Actions, Access to Justice, Effectiveness of Law, European Law, EU Member States, Legal Transplantation

JEL Classification: K41

Suggested Citation

Nagy, Csongor István, The Reception of Collective Actions in Europe: Reconstructing the Mental Process of a Legal Transplantation (July 25, 2020). Journal of Dispute Resolution, Vol. 2020, No. 2, pp. 413-443 (2020), Available at SSRN: or

Csongor István Nagy (Contact Author)

University of Szeged - Faculty of Law ( email )


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