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France to consider allowing class action lawsuits

[JURIST] The French parliament may soon consider a draft bill proposing the addition of class action lawsuits [JURIST news archive] to France's legal system after French Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industry Thierry Breton [official profile, in French] introduced the legislation at a weekly cabinet meeting Wednesday. Currently, an association can collectively represent French consumers, but each claimant must be named individually in a lawsuit. According to the draft, class actions still will only be brought by national consumer associations and must concern goods or services valued less than 2000 euros ($2,550) and exclude medical issues. If court decides to hear the initial claim, additional claimants can be added to the suit.

French President Jacques Chirac [BBC profile; official profile, in French] advocated the adoption of class actions in January 2005, urging his government to fill the gap in consumer rights, while avoiding the alleged class action abuses of the American legal system. Just two months ago, France's Competition Council [official website, in French] recommended the establishment of class action lawsuits [AFX report] to counterbalance abuses by powerful companies. Le Figaro interviewed Breton [text, in French] about the draft class action bill Tuesday. AP has more.

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