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class action info corner

Class actions have a long tradition in the United States (US). Contrastingly, most European jurisdictions used to vigorously reject the adoption of "US-style" class action instruments. This is about to change in the field of consumer laws. The U-turn came in 2020, when the EU adopted a directive on representative actions for the protection of collective interests of consumers (the "Directive"). The Directive seeks to ensure that an EU-wide "effective and efficient procedural mechanism for representative [i.e., collective] actions for injunctive measures and for redress measures is available to consumers […]".

To achieve that goal, the Directive gives "Qualified Entities" ("QEs") (e.g., a non-profit organisation protecting the interests of consumers) the right to request "injunctive" and/or "redress" measures for breaches of consumer laws. Injunctive measures include provisional and final orders to cease a breach of consumer laws and may be granted without any actual loss being sustained by consumers. Redress measures encompass a variety of remedies such as compensation, price reduction or contract termination. QEs may issue local and cross-border representative actions in other Member States. QEs from different Member States may also join forces and sue a defendant in one specific domestic court.

The new collective action regime shall apply to claims based on breaches of consumer laws that occurred on or after 25 June 2023. EU Member States are in the process of transposing the Directive into national law. In many CEE jurisdictions, the possibility to request compensation in a collective action will be new and materially change the litigation landscape. For companies engaged in B2C business, the new collective action regime will increase the prospects of high value claims filed by consumers. This will require firm litigation management to fend off and mitigate the risks flowing from the new collective action regime. A prudent litigation management starts with monitoring laws. The map below provides an overview as to how CEE States intend to implement the Directive. This is a key aspect of monitoring because EU States enjoy a considerable margin of discretion in implementing the Directive.

 

Click through our map to learn more about the status of each country:
information as of: 6 February 2024

Class action legislation in CEE.

Pfad 3 RO light PL light
BG light CZ light Hr light HU light Si light SK light RS light

entry into force (or expected), you need to act

no draft
BE light
draft

Class action legislation in CEE.

Pfad 3 RO light PL light
BE light BG light CZ light Hr light HU light Si light SK light RS light

entry into force (or expected), you need to act

draft
no draft

Class action legislation in CEE.

Bulgaria  

status of legislation: draft


1.) Standing
Representative non-profit entities may issue collective
proceedings, provided that they are included in the list
approved by the Minister of Economy and Industry. Collective
proceedings may also be brought by the Commission for
Consumer Protection.  

2.) Opt-in/opt out
A combination of both mechanisms exists. The court will set
a time limit within which affected consumers may join the
representative action. A consumer who has requested to
participate in the representative action for compensation may
opt-out in any state of the case.

3.) Eligibility
No details are provided regarding the degree of similarity
or the minimum number of consumers.

4.) Quantum
The courts are entitled to estimate losses.

5.) Third party funding
Third-party litigation funding is permitted.

6.) Allocation of costs/success fee
The "loser pays" principle applies. In exceptional
circumstances, the court may order an individual consumer,
belonging to the group of consumers, to pay the costs of the
representative action for damages proceedings that were
incurred as a result of the individual consumer’s intentional
or negligent conduct.

7.) State cash in mechanism
No state cash in mechanism applies.

back to CEE

Class action legislation in CEE.

Czech Republic  

status of legislation: draft


1.) Standing
Non-profit legal entities registered in the list of authorized
entities kept by  the Ministry of Industry and Commerce may
initiate collective proceedings.

2.) Opt-in/opt out
The opt-in mechanism applies.

3.) Eligibility
The class in favor of which the collective claim is filed shall
have at least 20 members and the claim shall be based on
a similar factual and legal basis (commonality).
The suitability of the claim will be assessed by
the courts on a case-by-case basis, considering the procedural
economy and nature of the claim,
(i.e. whether the claims are suitable for awarding
aggregate damages).

4.) Quantum
The courts are entitled to estimate losses.

5.) Third party funding
Third-party litigation funding is permitted.

6.) Allocation of costs/success fee
The "loser pays" principle applies.

7.) State cash in mechanism
No state cash in mechanism applies.

back to CEE

Class action legislation in CEE.

Croatia  

status of legislation:  entry into force
on 25 June 2023


1.) Standing
Non-governmental organizations or other non-profit
association have legal standing.

2.) Opt-in/opt out
The opt-in mechanism is mandatory for redress measures.

3.) Eligibility
The draft legislation does not provide any details in this regard.

4.) Quantum
The courts are entitled to estimate losses.

5.) Third party funding
Third-party litigation funding is permitted.

6.) Allocation of costs/success fee
The "loser pays" principle applies, subject to a maximum
recoverable amount.

7.) State cash in mechanism
No state cash in mechanism applies.

back to CEE

Class action legislation in CEE.

Hungary  
status of legislation: entered into force
on 25 June 2023


1.) Standing
Three types of entities have legal standing:
(i) qualified entities designated by the minister
in charge of consumer protection,
(ii) qualified entities designated by the national law and
(iii) qualified entities designated in another Member State.

2.) Opt-in/opt out
Both mechanisms exist, the rule being the opt-out mechanism.
The opt-in mechanism applies to all persons without habitual
residence in Hungary at the time of the court's decision to
approve a collective action.

3.) Eligibility
The claimant must show that the claim concerns the same
legal issues and is filed on behalf of an identifiable group.

4.) Quantum
The courts are entitled to estimate losses.

5.) Third party funding
Third party funding is permitted.

6.) Allocation of costs
The "loser pays" principle applies.

7.) State cash in mechanism
No state cash in mechanism applies.

back to CEE

Class action legislation in CEE.

Poland  

status of legislation: draft


1.) Standing
Now, a class action may be brought by a class representative
who is either (i) one of the class members, (ii) a municipal/
district Consumers Ombudsman (in matters related to
consumer protection) or (iii) the Financial Ombudsman
(in matters related to financial market services), but under the
draft legislation, in matters related to infringement of
consumer interests, a class representative may also be a
consumer organization entered into the relevant register.

2.) Opt-in/opt out
The opt-in mechanism applies.

3.) Eligibility
Now, (1) the minimum number of class members to file an
action is 10, and (2) the claims must be of one type and based
on the same or identical factual basis. Under the draft
legislation, there are exceptions applicable in cases related
to infringement of consumer interests: (1) the requirement to
identify the class members does not apply and (2) merely the
same legal basis of the claims is sufficient.

4.) Quantum
The courts are entitled to estimate losses.

5.) Third party funding
Third-party litigation funding is permitted.

6.) Allocation of costs
The "loser pays" principle applies, subject to proceedings
initiated by the Financial Ombudsman (and, under the draft
legislation, a registered consumer organization), where class
members do not bear any costs.

7.) State cash in mechanism
No state cash in mechanism applies.

back to CEE

Class action legislation in CEE.

Romania  

status of legislation: draft


1.) Standing
Qualified entities (consumer associations, consumer
associations representing members from at least two Member
States, ad hoc entities, public authorities and bodies
responsible for implementing the law) have legal standing.

2.) Opt-in/opt out
The opt-in mechanism is mandatory for redress actions.
No opt-in is required for injunctive actions.

3.) Eligibility
The draft legislation does not provide any details in this regard.

4.) Quantum
The courts are entitled to estimate losses.

5.) Third party funding
Third-party litigation funding is permitted.

6.) Allocation of costs/success fee
The "loser pays" principle applies. The general rule is that the
qualified entities bear the court fees. However, the individual
consumers may be ordered to pay the costs of proceedings on
the condition that these were incurred as a result of the
individual consumer's intentional or negligent conduct.

7.) State cash in mechanism
No state cash in mechanism applies.

back to CEE

Class action legislation in CEE.

Slovenia  
status of legislation: effective as of 21 April 2018

1.) Standing
Representative non-profit entities may initiate collective
proceedings, provided that there is a link between the entity's
statutory objectives and the consumer rights at issue. They
must fulfil additional criteria. Collective proceedings may
also be brought by the higher state attorney
(višji državni odvetnik).

2.) Opt-in/opt out
Both mechanisms exist. The claimant may propose the
referred mechanism, however, it is ultimately up to the court
to decide which mechanism would be more suitable in the
particular case. The opt-in mechanism applies mandatorily if
(i) at least one of the claims in the collective action relates to
the payment of compensation for non-pecuniary losses; or (ii)
based on the assessment provided by the plaintiff in the
lawsuit, at least 10% of the members of the class are seeking
payment in excess of EUR 2,000.

3.) Eligibility
Various conditions apply, inter alia that the claimant must
show that claims at issue concern the same, similar or
connected factual or legal issues (commonality) and
that a claim must be suitable for collective
determination (suitability).

4.) Quantum
The primary method for determining
compensation is individualization of damages.

5.) Third party funding
Third-party litigation funding is permitted.
Various conditions/safeguards apply.

6.) Allocation of costs
The "loser pays" principle applies.

7.) State cash in mechanism
No state cash in mechanism applies.

back to CEE

Class action legislation in CEE.

Slovakia  

status of legislation: entered into force
in its entirety on 25 July 2023



1.) Standing
Non-profit entities enrolled with the Ministry of Economy
as qualified entities may issue collective proceedings,
provided that they have been active in the field of consumer
protection and have not been removed from the list for
12 months.

2.) Opt-in/opt out
Both mechanisms exist. The opt-in regime is given priority; a
consumer may withdraw its prior opt-in consent at any time
after the filing of the claim (at the latest by the end of the
evidence before the court of first instance).

3.) Eligibility
At least 20 consumers must participate to initiate
injunctive relief proceedings.

4.) Quantum
The courts are entitled to estimate losses.

5.) Third party funding
Third-party litigation funding is permitted.

6.) Allocation of costs/success fee
The "loser pays" principle applies.

7.) State cash in mechanism
If, after the expiry of a three-year period following a final
ruling, the benefits intended for compensation remain
uncollected, the State will be entitled to collect the funds.

back to CEE
Pfad 3 RO light PL light
BG light CZ light Hr light HU light Si light SK light RS light

entry into force (or expected), you need to act

no draft
BE light
draft

Bulgaria  
status of legislation: draft


1.) Standing
Representative non-profit entities may issue collective
proceedings, provided that they are included in the list
approved by the Minister of Economy and Industry. Collective
proceedings may also be brought by the Commission for
Consumer Protection.  

2.) Opt-in/opt out
A combination of both mechanisms exists. The court will set
a time limit within which affected consumers may join the
representative action. A consumer who has requested to
participate in the representative action for compensation may
opt-out in any state of the case.

3.) Eligibility
No details are provided regarding the degree of similarity
or the minimum number of consumers.

4.) Quantum
The courts are entitled to estimate losses.

5.) Third party funding
Third-party litigation funding is permitted.

6.) Allocation of costs/success fee
The "loser pays" principle applies. In exceptional
circumstances, the court may order an individual consumer,
belonging to the group of consumers, to pay the costs of the
representative action for damages proceedings that were
incurred as a result of the individual consumer’s intentional
or negligent conduct.

7.) State cash in mechanism
No state cash in mechanism applies.

Class action legislation in CEE.

Pfad 3 RO light PL light
BG light CZ light Hr light HU light Si light SK light RS light

entry into force (or expected), you need to act

no draft
BE light
draft

Czech Republic  
status of legislation: draft


1.) Standing
Non-profit legal entities registered in the list of authorized entities kept by
the Ministry of Industry and Commerce may initiate collective proceedings.

2.) Opt-in/opt out
The opt-in mechanism applies.

3.) Eligibility
The class in favor of which the collective claim is filed shall have at least
20 members and the claim shall be based on a similar factual and legal
basis (commonality). The suitability of the claim will be assessed by
the courts on a case-by-case basis, considering the procedural
economy and nature of the claim,
(i.e. whether the claims are suitable for awarding aggregate damages).

4.) Quantum
The courts are entitled to estimate losses.

5.) Third party funding
Third-party litigation funding is permitted.

6.) Allocation of costs/success fee
The "loser pays" principle applies.

7.) State cash in mechanism
No state cash in mechanism applies.

Class action legislation in CEE.

Pfad 3 RO light PL light
BG light CZ light Hr light HU light Si light SK light RS light

entry into force (or expected), you need to act

no draft
BE light
draft

Croatia  
status of legislation:  entry into force
on 25 June 2023


1.) Standing
Non-governmental organizations or other non-profit
association have legal standing.

2.) Opt-in/opt out
The opt-in mechanism is mandatory for redress measures.

3.) Eligibility
The draft legislation does not provide any details in this regard.

4.) Quantum
The courts are entitled to estimate losses.

5.) Third party funding
Third-party litigation funding is permitted.

6.) Allocation of costs/success fee
The "loser pays" principle applies, subject to a maximum
recoverable amount.

7.) State cash in mechanism
No state cash in mechanism applies.

Class action legislation in CEE.

Pfad 3 RO light PL light
BG light CZ light Hr light HU light Si light SK light RS light

entry into force (or expected), you need to act

no draft
BE light
draft

Hungary  
status of legislation: entered into force
on 25 June 2023

1.) Standing
Three types of entities have legal standing:
(i) qualified entities designated by the minister
in charge of consumer protection,
(ii) qualified entities designated by the national law and
(iii) qualified entities designated in another Member State.

2.) Opt-in/opt out
Both mechanisms exist, the rule being the opt-out mechanism.
The opt-in mechanism applies to all persons without habitual
residence in Hungary at the time of the court's decision to
approve a collective action.

3.) Eligibility
The claimant must show that the claim concerns the same
legal issues and is filed on behalf of an identifiable group.

4.) Quantum
The courts are entitled to estimate losses.

5.) Third party funding
Third party funding is permitted.

6.) Allocation of costs
The "loser pays" principle applies.

7.) State cash in mechanism
No state cash in mechanism applies.

Class action legislation in CEE.

Pfad 3 RO light PL light
BG light CZ light Hr light HU light Si light SK light RS light

entry into force (or expected), you need to act

no draft
BE light
draft

Poland  
status of legislation: draft

1.) Standing
Now, a class action may be brought by a class representative
who is either (i) one of the class members, (ii) a municipal/
district Consumers Ombudsman (in matters related to
consumer protection) or (iii) the Financial Ombudsman
(in matters related to financial market services), but under the
draft legislation, in matters related to infringement of
consumer interests, a class representative may also be a
consumer organization entered into the relevant register.

2.) Opt-in/opt out
The opt-in mechanism applies.

3.) Eligibility
Now, (1) the minimum number of class members to file an action
is 10, and (2) the claims must be of one type and based on the
same or identical factual basis. Under the draft legislation, there
are exceptions applicable in cases related to infringement of
consumer interests: (1) the requirement to identify the class
members does not apply and (2) merely the same legal basis
of the claims is sufficient.

4.) Quantum
The courts are entitled to estimate losses.

5.) Third party funding
Third-party litigation funding is permitted.

6.) Allocation of costs
The "loser pays" principle applies, subject to proceedings
initiated by the Financial Ombudsman (and, under the draft
legislation, a registered consumer organization), where class
members do not bear any costs.

7.) State cash in mechanism
No state cash in mechanism applies.

Class action legislation in CEE.

Pfad 3 RO light PL light
BG light CZ light Hr light HU light Si light SK light RS light

entry into force (or expected), you need to act

no draft
BE light
draft

Romania  
status of legislation: draft


1.) Standing
Qualified entities (consumer associations, consumer
associations representing members from at least two Member
States, ad hoc entities, public authorities and bodies
responsible for implementing the law) have legal standing.

2.) Opt-in/opt out
The opt-in mechanism is mandatory for redress actions.
No opt-in is required for injunctive actions.

3.) Eligibility
The draft legislation does not provide any details in this regard.

4.) Quantum
The courts are entitled to estimate losses.

5.) Third party funding
Third-party litigation funding is permitted.

6.) Allocation of costs/success fee
The "loser pays" principle applies. The general rule is that the
qualified entities bear the court fees. However, the individual
consumers may be ordered to pay the costs of proceedings on
the condition that these were incurred as a result of the
individual consumer's intentional or negligent conduct.

7.) State cash in mechanism
No state cash in mechanism applies.

Class action legislation in CEE.

Pfad 3 RO light PL light
BG light CZ light Hr light HU light Si light SK light RS light

entry into force (or expected), you need to act

no draft
BE light
draft

Slovenia  
status of legislation: effective as of 21 April 2018

1.) Standing
Representative non-profit entities may initiate collective
proceedings, provided that there is a link between the entity's
statutory objectives and the consumer rights at issue. They
must fulfil additional criteria. Collective proceedings may
also be brought by the higher state attorney
(višji državni odvetnik).

2.) Opt-in/opt out
Both mechanisms exist. The claimant may propose the
referred mechanism, however, it is ultimately up to the court
to decide which mechanism would be more suitable in the
particular case. The opt-in mechanism applies mandatorily if
(i) at least one of the claims in the collective action relates to
the payment of compensation for non-pecuniary losses; or (ii)
based on the assessment provided by the plaintiff in the
lawsuit, at least 10% of the members of the class are seeking
payment in excess of EUR 2,000.

3.) Eligibility
Various conditions apply, inter alia that the claimant must
show that claims at issue concern the same, similar or
connected factual or legal issues (commonality) and
that a claim must be suitable for collective
determination (suitability).

4.) Quantum
The primary method for determining
compensation is individualization of damages.

5.) Third party funding
Third-party litigation funding is permitted.
Various conditions/safeguards apply.

6.) Allocation of costs
The "loser pays" principle applies.

7.) State cash in mechanism
No state cash in mechanism applies.

Class action legislation in CEE.

Pfad 3 RO light PL light
BG light CZ light Hr light HU light Si light SK light RS light

entry into force (or expected), you need to act

no draft
BE light
draft




Slovakia
status of legislation: entered into force in its entirety on 25 July 2023

1.) Standing
Non-profit entities enrolled with the Ministry of Economy
as qualified entities may issue collective proceedings,
provided that they have been active in the field of consumer
protection and have not been removed from the list for
12 months.

2.) Opt-in/opt out
Both mechanisms exist. The opt-in regime is given priority; a
consumer may withdraw its prior opt-in consent at any time
after the filing of the claim (at the latest by the end of the
evidence before the court of first instance).

3.) Eligibility
At least 20 consumers must participate to initiate
injunctive relief proceedings.

4.) Quantum
The courts are entitled to estimate losses.

5.) Third party funding
Third-party litigation funding is permitted.

6.) Allocation of costs/success fee
The "loser pays" principle applies.

7.) State cash in mechanism
If, after the expiry of a three-year period following a final
ruling, the benefits intended for compensation remain
uncollected, the State will be entitled to collect the funds.

Class action legislation in CEE.

If you do have any questions about how to legally prepare for the new collective action, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

austria

Martin
Ebner

Partner

austria vienna

Sara
Khalil

Counsel

austria vienna

Peter
Konwitschka

Partner

austria vienna

Christoph
Lindinger

Partner

austria vienna

Sebastian
Lukic

Attorney at Law

austria vienna

Michael
Magerl

Office Managing Partner

austria linz

Miruna
Mustata

Associate

austria vienna

Andreas
Natterer

Partner

austria vienna

Marguerita
Sedrati-Müller

Counsel

austria vienna

Bojana
Vareskic

Counsel

austria vienna

Manuela
Zimmermann

Partner

austria vienna

bulgaria

Dimitar
Vlaevsky

Attorney at Law

bulgaria

croatia

Vice
Mandarić*

Partner | Mandarić & Einwalter in coop. with Schoenherr

croatia

czech republic

Stanislav
Bednář

Attorney at Law

czech republic

Ondřej
Havlíček

Partner

czech republic

Natálie
Rosová

Attorney at Law

czech republic

Kristýna
Zmatlíková

Attorney at Law

czech republic

hungary

Bálint
Bodó

Associate

hungary

Alexandra
Bognár

Attorney at Law

hungary

poland

romania

Loredana
Barbu

Attorney at Law

romania

Marcel
Mămăligă

Attorney at Law

romania

Nora
Olah

Managing Attorney at Law

romania

Valeria
Stropșa

Senior Attorney at Law

romania

slovakia

Ján
Farbiak

Attorney at Law

slovakia

slovenia

Bojan
Brežan

Partner in cooperation with Schoenherr

slovenia

Marko
Frantar

Partner in cooperation with Schoenherr

slovenia

Miriam
Gajšek

Associate

slovenia

Maks David
Osojnik

Attorney at Law

slovenia