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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Consumers Encouraged To Litigate

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has decided to encourage consumers, who have been cheated, to litigate against the miscreants.

The OFT has stated that it believes that the public should have wider access to litigation, if they have bought goods from companies that operated cartels or otherwise colluded to fix prices.

The OFT has also committed to becoming more proactive in helping consumers bring private claims.

Lat year consumers were given the right to sue companies that have engaged in anti-competitive. However, the costs of mounting such a lawsuit has prohibited many from taking them to court.

The OFT has stated that it will address the costs of consumer based litigation. It intends to introduce new forms of "no win, no fee" arrangements.

Matthew Levitt, a competition law expert at Lovells, is quoted as saying:

"The OFT will be sensitive to the need to avoid the 'excesses' of the US system. One of the key features of the US system - triple damages (where consumers are awarded compensation equal to three times their loss) is not part of the OFT's proposals."

However, quite how long the process of taking this forward to practical reality will take is anybodies guess.

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