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Actions for injunctions

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The European Union (EU) harmonises legislative, regulatory and administrative provisions of Member States relating to actions for injunctions. Recourse to this type of action aims at putting an end to practices which are contrary to certain European directives and which infringe upon consumer protection. The aim of this Directive is to stop commercial operators’ activities in a Member State that are harmful to the collective interests of consumers in another Member State.

ACT

Directive 98/27/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 1998 on injunctions for the protection of consumer interests.

SUMMARY

An action for an injunction is a procedure which allows offences which adversely affect consumers’ collective interests to be halted or prohibited.

An action for injunction may be introduced in a case of violation of national provisions taken when European directives are transposed on misleading advertising, consumer credit, package travel, unfair contractual terms, etc.

Two categories of qualified entities may bring actions for injunctions to protect consumers’ collective interests: consumers’ associations and public organisations in charge of consumer protection.

An action for injunction may be brought in the framework of an emergency procedure, it may lead to the publication of the decision or amended declaration to eliminate the effects of the infringement as well as an order against the infringer for payment of a penalty in the event of failure to comply with the decision within the time-limit specified (only in Member States where the legal system so allows).

In the event of an intra-Community offence which adversely affects the collective interests of consumers in a Member State, any qualified entity in that Member State may institute an action for injunction in the Member State where the offence originated. The aim of this procedure is to neutralise commercial operators who undertake activities that are prejudicial to the collective interests of consumers in another Member State.

Actions for injunctions introduced by this Directive do not allow adversely affected consumers to obtain compensation for the damage suffered.

Member States designate the Court or the administrativeauthority competent to rule on actions for injunctions.

Applicable law is determined according to the rules of private international law currently in force.

Member States notify the Commission of the entities qualified to bring actions for an injunction in another Member State. The Commission updates the list of entities qualified to bring action in another Member State every six months, and then publishes it in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Before bringing an action for injunction, Member States may envisage a prior consultation procedure between the infringer and the plaintiff/qualified entity with a view to encouraging a negotiated solution. If the infringement is not terminated within two weeks following receipt of the request for consultation, an action for injunction may be brought.

Member States may extend the scope of actions for injunctions. They may also extend the possibility of bringing action for injunctions to any other person concerned.

Every three years the Commission must submit a report on the application of the Directive to the European Parliament and the Council.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 98/27/EC1.7.19981.1.2001OJ L 166 of 11.6.1998

MODIFICATION OF ANNEXES

List of European directives
Directive 1999/44/EC [Official Journal L 171 of 7.7.1999];
Directive 2000/31/EC [Official Journal L 178 of 17.7.2000];
Directive 2002/65/EC [Official Journal L 271 of 9.10.2002];
Directive 2005/29/EC [Official Journal L 149 of 11.6.2005];
Directive 2006/123/EC [Official Journal L 376 of 27.12.2006].

RELATED ACTS

Amended proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 16 November 2006, on injunctions for the protection of consumers' interests (codified version) [COM(2006) 692 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission concerning Article 4(3) of Directive 98/27/EC on injunctions for the protection of consumers' interests, concerning the entities qualified to bring an action under Article 2 of this Directive [Official Journal C 63 of 8.3.2008] (pdf ).

This Communication updates the list of national entities which are recognised by the Member States as qualified to bring actions for injunctions.

Report of the Commission of 18 November 2008 on the application of Directive 98/27/EC Directive [COM(2008) 756 final – Not published in the Official Journal (pdf )].

The introduction of the procedure of actions for injunctions in each of the Member States constitutes important progress in putting an end to national offences infringing the protection of consumers’ collective interests. This procedure is less successful in the framework of cross-border offences due to the high cost of the procedure and procedural differences existing between Member States. Implementation of Regulation (EC) n° 2006/2004 on Cooperation for Consumer Protection and the adoption of Regulation n° 864/2007 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations (Rome II) should however step up the fight against intra-Community offences. Lastly, the Commission considers that it is preferable to continue to examine the application of the Directive before proposing new amendments or its repeal.

Last updated: 03.12.2008

See also

For further information, see the Commission’s Consumer Affairs website.

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