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Class Action in Society

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Class Action in Society

My interest in ‘class action’ has grown long before the enrolment of undergraduate law. The issue was introduced to me under a laymen’s term in the movie Erin Brockovich. What it attracts me is the idea of bringing a legal action on behalf of a group of people against a large entrepreneurial company for the compensation of the loss and doing justice for so many people at once. There are some major differences between the ordinary claims and class action. Class action is unique of its special characteristics. Therefore, it becomes essential to examine the characteristics of class action and its operation due to the fact that such lawsuit is only widely available in America, and not under the jurisdiction of English law. Despite that there have been similar actions brought under this heading; the English law still remains largely unclear.


In this essay, I will first start to clarify the definition of class action. Second, I will describe the operation of class action and its characteristics. Third, I will start to analyze what are the effects of these characteristics in society and economy, and balancing the pros and cons. Finally, I hope to construe the conclusion that the disadvantaged impact of class action outweighs the benefits. In addition, I would also like to clarify that since most of the articles I have found are published by American scholars, this essay will be focusing on class actions brought under the United States jurisdiction.


In the United States, the class action is mainly brought under five headings: consumer rights, securities and antitrust, environmental, mass tort and civil rights. The first type of claim is brought due to the fraudulent business practices and other reasons result in individual economic losses (the amount is generally small on each individual). Second type of ...

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