A class action is a lawsuit brought by one or more persons on behalf of a larger group of people who have similar claims. It is an important means of providing access to justice to persons whose individual claims may be too small to prosecute on their own in a cost-effective manner.
No. In order for a matter to proceed as a class action, the proceeding must be certified under the Class Proceedings Act, 1992. A court will certify an action only where:
1. The pleadings disclose a cause of action. (In other words, that there must be some legal basis for the claim)
2. There is an identifiable class of two or more persons to be represented by the representative plaintiff or defendant
3. The claims of the class members raise one or more issues that are in common as between all the proposed members of the class (so that if one wins, they all win)
4. A class proceeding would be the preferable procedure for the fair and efficient resolution of the common issues
5. There is a person who is prepared to act as the representative plaintiff who would fairly and adequately represent the interests of the class, has produced a plan for the class proceeding that sets out a workable method of advancing the class proceeding on behalf of the class and notifying class members of the class proceeding, and does not have, on the common issue(s), an interest that conflicts with the interests of other class members.
Once certified, a class action proceeds much like any other lawsuit, in which documents are exchanged, witnesses are examined, evidence is led and argument takes place at a proceeding before a judge.
People who are members of the class but who do not want to be part of the class action can “opt out” and pursue their own individual lawsuits. Members of the class are given an opportunity to opt out when they receive notice of certification of the action. If you do not opt out by completing the form provided within the time period provided, you will be considered to be a member of the class and will be bound by any court decision for the class. If you do opt out, you will not be entitled to share in any damages if the class action succeeds.
Our legal fees will be paid only if there is a successful recovery for the plaintiffs. However, contributions may be requested from class members to cover the cost of such disbursements as expert reports, transcripts and filing fees. Such contributions, if requested, would not be large and would help the chance of success in the proceeding.