Becoming competitive on the worldwide stage: UK Supreme Court gives green light to class actions

December 11, 2020

By Suzanne Chiodo, Assistant Professor, Western Law

The UK Supreme Court has given its stamp of approval to the country’s fledgling competition law class action regime,[1]relying on Canadian jurisprudence in doing so.

Opt-out class actions have been part of UK competition law since October 2015, when Schedule 8 to the Consumer Rights Act 2015[2] came into force, amending the Competition Act 1998 (“the Act”). The drafters of the legislation were heavily influenced by other jurisdictions with class actions regimes, including the Canadian provinces.[3] Although the move was hailed as a landmark for access to civil justice,[4] class actions in the UK have, until recently, failed to launch. Only a handful of actions have been commenced under the Act, the first of which foundered at the certification stage.[5] The others have been stayed pending the UK Supreme Court’s decision in the Mastercard case, which is the subject of this case comment.

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