The role of class representatives in mass claims: Establishing the Class Representatives Network in the UK
In 2015 a new Consumer Rights Act2 entered the statute books in the UK. It propelled the country's consumer rights framework into the modern era, bringing together a variety of hitherto disparate rules and regulations. But tucked away at the back of the Act, in Schedule 8 on page 118, was something altogether new for UK consumers. Schedule 8 – entitled "Private Actions in Competition Law" – introduced3 a collective redress mechanism under which claims relating to loss or damage caused by a breach of competition law could be joined together as opt-out collective proceedings, and determined in a specialist forum, the Competition Appeals Tribunal. Individuals whose claims were collated in this way would be referred to as a "class". Collective proceedings would be commenced and progressed by a class representative, whose role would be to ensure that proceedings were pursued in the best interests of class members. Seven years on, this article considers how the embryonic role of the class representative is currently evolving, and explains why a new association – the Class Representatives Network – has emerged to support it.