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The Recognition in England and Wales of United States Judgments in Class Actions

Harvard Law School
Publication Date
  • Law


The U.S. class action is an unusual animal. To the extent that its �opt out� mechanism purports to bind class members who never affirmatively commenced proceedings in the United States, controversy surrounds the question whether such a judgment is entitled to recognition in England and Wales. Only if it is so entitled will the judgment be effective to prevent non-participant class members from (re)litigating their claims in England. This Article identifies the primary difficulty as being the existence of English common law rules that presuppose that only a defendant, or at least a party, to foreign proceedings would object to the recognition of a foreign judgment in England. It explores various potential avenues for resolving this dilemma of having defendant-based rules and a plaintiff-based problem. It concludes that the most satisfactory solution would be for the common law to develop a �representative action� criterion of recognition, and it proffers a formulation of such a requirement.

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