BIS is carrying out a consultation in relation to competition law reform and in particular a proposal to introduce collective actions in this area (known as class actions in the US). This will enable opt-out litigation to be taken on behalf of a whole class of affected individuals, and for damages to be awarded reflecting their entire loss and so the full extent of the Defendant's wrongful acts.
If not all the individuals in the class can be contacted, there will be leftover damages that need to be dealt with. Potentially these could be large sums, although only arising on an ad-hoc basis.
As the consultation outlines, the Government's preferred solution is there be a single named recipient for residue funds (instead of the alternatives used elsewhere such as returning to the defendant), and that this recipient be the Access to Justice Foundation.
Given that collective actions at their heart enable access to justice for individuals as a group, there is a clear connect between using residue damages to support access to justice for the wider public.
In the usual way the Government and ultimately Parliament will be aided by seeing significant levels of support for a particular course. In order to secure these future funds which the Foundation would receive on behalf of the advice and pro bono sector, we would be greatly assisted by submission of supportive responses from all the key organisations.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Ruth Daniel on 020 7092 3973 for more information.
The full consultation can be found on the BIS website: http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/consumer-issues/docs/p/12-742-private-actions-incompetition-law-consultation.pdf