Contributed By Pérez-Llorca
The Spanish legal system permits representative or collective actions, such as class actions, as long as the actions arise from a single claim.
Notwithstanding the individual standing of those aggrieved, legally constituted consumer and user associations will be authorised to defend the rights and interests of their members and of the association in court, as well as the general interests of consumers and users.
In proceedings filed by associations or entities constituted for the protection of the rights and interests of consumers and users or by affected groups, those who have been damaged due to being consumers of the product or users of the service which gave rise to the proceedings shall be called to appear in order to assert their individual rights or interests.
Class actions in Spain are opt-in. Specifically, when the proceedings involve:
(i) determined or easily determined damaged parties, the claimant(s) must have previously notified those concerned of their intention to file a claim. In this case, after the call, the consumer or user may participate in the proceedings at any time, but may only conduct the procedural acts which have not been precluded.
(ii) an indeterminate number of persons or a number which is difficult to determine, the call shall suspend the course of the proceedings for a time limit which shall not exceed two months and which shall be determined by the court clerk in each case depending on the circumstances or complexity of the event and the difficulties concerning the determination and localisation of those damaged individuals. The proceedings will continue with the intervention of all the consumers who have obeyed the call, and the individual appearance of consumers or users shall not be allowed subsequently.