Parallel actions in cross-border mass claims in the EU: A (comparative) lawyer’s paradise?

N.D Touw, Ianika Tzankova

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review


In the context of cross-border mass harms, collective redress mechanisms aim to offer (better) access to justice for affected parties and to facilitate procedural economy. Even when national collective redress mechanisms seek to group cases together, it is likely that cross-border parallel actions will still be filed. Parallel actions risk producing irreconcilable judgments with conflicting or inconsistent outcomes and the rules of European private international law aim to reduce this risk. This contribution argues that the rules on parallel actions currently run the risk of not achieving their objective in the context of mass claims and collective redress. Given their lack of harmonization, when collective redress mechanisms with different levels of representation are used, the application of the rules on parallel actions can cause procedural chaos. In addition, judges have a great deal of discretion in applying the rules on parallel actions, whilst there is a lack of guidance on how they should use this discretion and what criteria to apply. They may be unaware of the effects on the access to justice of their decisions to stay or proceed with a parallel collective action. This contribution argues that there should be more awareness about the interaction (and sometimes perhaps even a clash) between the goals of private international law and of collective redress and of how access to justice can come under pressure in the cross-border context when the traditional rules on parallel actions are applied. A stronger focus on the training and education of judges and lawyers in comparative collective redress could be a way forward.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-30
Number of pages22
JournalNederlands Internationaal Privaatrecht
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2023


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