• GL
Choose your location?
  • Global Global
  • Australia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Poland
  • Qatar
  • Spain
  • UAE
  • UK

The EU Directive on representative actions

About the Directive 

The new representative actions Directive (EU Directive 2020/1828) entered into force on December 24, 2020. EU member states were given 24 months to transfer the Directive into national law, and six months to implement it. The new rules will apply to representative actions that were filed on or after the Directive’s date of application. 

We provide an overview of the status of implementation of the Directive across major EU jurisdictions as at 1 February 2023, including the current collective litigation mechanisms in place in these jurisdictions. In jurisdictions where class actions are not permissible, we also outline examples of other major group litigation cases. 

At the bottom of this page, you can also find contact details of the main representative members of the DWF Class Actions team across Europe. Should you wish to discuss your strategy in preparation for future class actions under the new EU Directive, please don't hesitate to reach out to one of our colleagues. 

The Directive: An Overview

The Directive is designed to protect the collective interests of consumers by establishing effective procedures for member states to ensure that qualified entities can bring collective actions on behalf of consumers.

  • Scope
    0809 Group meeting 1 PPT Wide


    The Directive will enable qualified entities to bring representative actions, for both injunctive (requiring the infringing conduct to be stopped or prohibited) and redress measures (such as compensation, repair or price reduction), against traders who are infringing the provisions of Union law.  The Directive includes both an opt-in and opt-out system.
  • Why is this important?
    0736 Business meeting PPT Wide 585px x 485px

    Why is this important?

    The Directive provides consumers with an alternative to pursuing costly, lengthy individual legal proceedings, by way of an efficient method to obtain collective redress.  The existence of such a mechanism is likely to lead to an increase in such class actions being run.
  • Qualified entities
    0141 Writing 585x485px

    Qualified entities

    The organisations which can represent consumers must be Qualified Entities, which will generally be consumer organisations or public authorities.  The member state will designate at least one local qualified entity, based upon criteria relating to transparency, non-profit-making qualities, and permanence.
  • Redress and remedies
    0738 Presenting at meeting PPT Wide

    Redress and remedies

    The representative action which can be brought will not have the limitations of declaratory relief only.  Consumer bodies representing the interst of the group of consumers will be able to seek injunctions, and remedial measures such as compensation, repair or termination of the contract
  • Opt in or Opt out
    0550 Casual work space 585x485

    Opt in or Opt out

    The Directive provides for both an opt-in and an opt-out system. 

    It should be noted however that consumers living outside the member state in which an action is brought would only become part of the represented group by opting in.
  • Loser pays
    0122 Adjusting 585x485px

    Loser pays

    The unsuccessful party will bear the costs of the action (although individual consumers will not be required to pay the costs except in exceptional circumstances)
  • External funding
    0162 Plants coins 585x485px

    External funding

    The use of third party funding is restricted, but not prohibited, providing national law allows it.

Find out more from our experts across Europe

How will this take effect in your country?

UK | London | DWF

England & Wales

Summary of legal landscape in England & Wales in relation to group actions.

France | Paris | DWF


Summary of legal landscape in France in relation to group actions.

Germany | Berlin | DWF


Summary of legal landscape in Germany in relation to group actions.

Ireland | Dublin | DWF


There is no statutory process for group actions in Ireland. An action can be brought be way of representative action or by way of test cases, although test cases have no formal footing and the term is largely colloquial.

Italy | Milan | DWF


Summary of legal landscape in Italy in relation to group actions.


Northern Ireland

There are mechanisms available for representative action in Northern Ireland pursuant to the Rules of the Court of Judicature.

Poland | Warsaw | DWF


Summary of legal landscape in Poland in relation to group actions.

Spain | Madrid | DWF


Summary of legal landscape in Spain in relation to group actions.


Key contacts