#61Draft law on actions for the protection of consumers' collective interests

The Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic has submitted to the inter-ministerial comment procedure a bill on Actions for the Protection of Collective Interests of Consumers and on Amendments and Additions to Certain Acts (hereinafter referred to as "Bill").

The Bill transposes into Slovak Law Council Directive (EU) 2020/1828 of 25th November 2020 on representative actions for the protection of consumers' collective interests, repealing Directive 2009/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. The aim of the transposed Directive is to ensure that consumers in all Member States have at least one effective and efficient procedural mechanism for actions for the protection of consumers' collective interests, thereby increasing consumer confidence, empowering consumers to exercise their rights, bringing about fairer competition and creating a level playing field for traders operating in the internal market.

The most significant changes introduced by the Bill include:

  1. the introduction of the same criteria for those entitled to bring both national and cross-border actions to protect consumers' collective interests. The list of authorised persons will be maintained by the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic, which naturally resulted from the current situation, as it already maintains a list of consumer protection associations;
  2. introduction of an opt-in system (by way of registration by consumers of their intention to sue) in proceedings for actions for the protection of consumers' collective interests;
  3. the introduction of the possibility for the authorised person to charge consumers a fee for joining the proceedings to partially cover the costs of bringing an action (amounting to ten euros);
  4. the introduction of a rule that the unsuccessful party shall bear the costs of the proceedings, with the exception of the consumer - this is only possible exceptionally (as a result of deliberate or negligent conduct on the part of the consumer);
  5. introduction of an information obligation towards consumers on the part of the Ministry and the authorised entities (on authorised entities, actions, etc.);
  6. the introduction of a mandatory consultation of the authorised person before bringing an action for abstract control with the trader concerned in order to get the latter to desist from infringing the legislation;
  7. the introduction of a fiction that a decision of a court/administrative authority of any Member State on the existence of an infringement of the collective interests of consumers may be used by the parties to the proceedings as evidence for the purposes of any subsequent action against the same trader for the same practice;
  8. the introduction of a system of sanctions (in the event of a breach of the law) and rewards (in the event of success in the proceedings).

The Bill is proposed to come into force on 25th June 2023. It will be interesting to see whether and to what extent the final wording of the Bill differs from the original one, or whether it will be found useful in practice.

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  • AuthorAdmin
  • Date5.9.2022