Free enterprise and competition are critical to the success of a market economy. In the United States, the class action mechanism is one of the most effective and efficient means for consumers to play a part in protecting this basic principle. By treating public citizens as "private attorneys general," class actions incentivize aggrieved consumers to ferret out wrongdoing and seek recompense.
In January 2013, the U.K. government's department for Business Innovation and Skills ("BIS") published a response to its 2012 Consultation on options for reform. The response introduced a limited opt-out class action mechanism. While the proposed U.K. class action device bears some similarities to the U.S. system, it also includes some critical differences. The following article provides an overview of both mechanisms and the merits of the same.