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Deep Dive: Class Actions in Belgium – Three Years of Case Law : First Lessons & Recent Developments

May 31, 2018 • Brussels

Starts: 9:30 AM (CEST)
Ends: 1:30 PM (CEST)
Site: Crowell & Moring
Address: Rue Joseph Stevens 7, 1000 Brussels View Map (view map)

The Act of 28 March 2014 introduced a collective redress mechanism in the Belgian Code of Economic law, allowing groups of consumers having suffered damage from a common cause to file a collective claim for damages through a group representative, more commonly known as a class action.

The scope of the Belgian collective redress action will soon be extended to SMEs that employ fewer than 250 employees and have an annual turnover of less than €50 million or have a total annual balance sheet of less than €43 million. SMEs as well as self-employed individuals are thereby given the same opportunity as consumers, to file a collective action against an undertaking which caused them damage.

Although this legislative innovation will ensure better protection of the rights of self-employed individuals and SMEs, the extension will, on the other hand, significantly increase the litigation risk for companies. Collective redress lawsuits involve a number of complex procedural issues and can have a significant impact on the organisation of the companies being sued.

This deep dive will address the main procedural elements of the Belgian collective redress system and recent case law, as well as its future expansion to SMEs and self-employed individuals. This deep dive will further provide an opportunity to hear class action practitioners discuss effective strategies for preparing its defense against a collective redress action.
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