A Class Action is a civil action brought by one or more representative on behalf of a larger group of victims (the class members) for matters involving common defendant(s) involving the same transaction or related transactions. A class action is a collective effort for cost minimization and judicial efficiency. Class action suits can be used for a wide array of cases. For instance, class actions can be used in the context of labour dispute, defective products, disasters resulted from someone’s negligence, medical malpractice, sexual harassment & violence in office and in medical facilities.
An action could either start as a class proceeding by seeking a leave from court in obtaining an Order for Certification from the Court certifying it as a class action. A case could also be initiated as an individual action and be amended into a class proceeding by amending the statement of claim. During the Certification hearing, the Court will consider whether common issues are raised, whether a class action is preferable and whether there is a suitable representative plaintiff who can fairly and adequately represent the interests of the class, whom have no conflict of interest with other class members, and have a plan for pursuing the action and for notifying other class members.
If it is a Class Action, following a determination of the common issues, the Court will then address individual issues. Broad discretions are given to the Court for the distribution of monetary relief. The Court may order individual assessments for class members or the relief awarded be distributed to the class members in some other fair ways. Although most class action proceeding ends with a settlement, some advance to trial sparingly.
A Class Action suite is extremely complicated and is highly technical. If you are a victim resulted from a transaction involving more than one victims, you are advised to seek legal advice immediately before the matter is statutory barred from commencing.
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