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Actions for injunctions
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.
Directive 98/27/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 1998 on injunctions for the protection of consumer interests.
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 administrative authority 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.
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Directive 98/27/EC||1.7.1998||1.1.2001||OJ 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].
For further information, see the Commission’s Consumer Affairs website.