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    Resolving Mass Disputes: ADR and Settlement of Mass Claims (Hardback) Edited by Christopher J. S. Hodges, Edited by Astrid Stadler


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    DescriptionThe landscape of mass litigation in Europe has changed impressively in recent years, and collective redress litigation has proved a popular topic. Although much of the literature focuses on the political context, contentious litigation, or how to handle cross-border multiparty cases, this book has a different focus and a fresh approach. Taking as a starting-point the observation that mass litigation claims are a 'nuisance' for both parties and courts, the book considers new ways of settling mass disputes. Contributors from across the globe - Australia, Canada, China, Europe and the US, point towards an international convergence of the importance of settlements, mediation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). They question whether the spread of a culture of settlement signifies a trend or philosophical desire for less confrontation in some societies, and explore the reasons for such a trend. Raising a series of questions on resolving mass disputes, and fuelling future debate, this book will provide a challenging and thought-provoking read for law academics, practitioners and policymakers.

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  • Ideal reading for practitioners....5


    An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

    Mass claims – known as ‘class actions’ in North America – (and the intriguing subject matter of at least one John Grisham novel) -- are fascinatingly explored in this recent publication from Edward Elgar Publishing. The mass claim is certainly one of the more recent legal phenomena of our times.

    The most familiar examples involve large numbers of people getting together to sue one large company over one, or several, or a range of grievances. The resulting tsunami of complex litigation can take years, sometimes decades, to reach a resolution, or some semblance of one.

    Authored by – including the editors -- at least 15 expert contributors, the book is a comparative study of the various processes and procedures that in recent decades, have evolved in the handling of mass claims in different jurisdictions worldwide, from the UK to China to the USA, where, as you might guess, the mass dispute (or class action) might well claim to have originated.

    As pointed out by the co-editors mass litigation is now on the reform agenda across Europe and the legislative landscape has ‘changed impressively in recent years.’ They add, however, that while there is any amount of case law in the ‘classic class action countries’ like the US, Canada and Australia, mass disputes and settlement problems are ‘completely new terrain’ for many courts in Europe.

    The publication of this volume is timely for the insights it provides into what is emerging as an important area of comparative law. ‘Court pathways’, however, are only one option for which there are a number of possible alternatives, notably CDR, or consumer alternative dispute resolution -- a slight variant of the more familiar ADR – alternative dispute resolution. ‘ADR/CDR systems and settlements both help to unburden the court system,’ suggest the editors – ‘and are arguably the best way of satisfying the parties,’

    Practitioners should be cautious however, in viewing any method of alternative dispute resolution as necessarily the best way forward toward settlement, even of a mass dispute. Read, for example, the chapters on mass settlements in Canada and Australia and also in particular, the chapter by Richard Marcus on America’s experience with collective litigation for a thoughtful perspective on this viewpoint. In some jurisdictions -- Canada in particular -- the final settlement of a mass claim must be approved by the Court.

    Doubtless this important new book will provide much ammunition for future debates on the many thorny issues surrounding the resolution of mass disputes. Practitioners, academic lawyers and researchers alike will certainly appreciate the global perspectives this book offers, as well as of course, the extensive footnoting and tables of cases from the UK and continental Europe, Australia Canada, the Netherlands and the USA. Suffice to say, this book should be -considered a must-have purchase for the up-to-date practitioner’s library. The publication date is 2013. by Phillip Taylor MBE

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