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The phenomenon of mass claims and the collective redress mechanisms

Niš, 14.12.2023.

This year's sixth lecture, to the second generation of participants, as part of the training program Strengthening Capacities for Judicial Reform - southern Serbia, was held by Dr. Nevena Petrušić, professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Niš and Dr. Nebojša Stanković, an attorney-at-law from Niš. The lecture title is The Phenomenon of Mass Claims and the Mechanisms of Collective Protection of Rights.

In practice, in the last 15 years, there have been frequent lawsuits against the Republic of Serbia and local self-government units, i.e., bodies and organizations to which certain public powers have been transferred - public companies, funds, and the like, but also private legal entities. These procedures, known to the public as masovke or masovne tužbe, are conducted according to the rules of procedure in small-value disputes. They last relatively short and end in one or several hearings, and they are also recognizable by the fact that the same lawyers appear as attorneys in those lawsuits. In many cases, the right to legal protection is the subject of abuse because the filing of a lawsuit is not aimed at satisfying the legal protection needs of citizens, but some other impermissible interests are realized. All this together creates the so-called phenomenon, the purpose of which is not to eliminate the consequences of the violation of rights but to obtain compensation for the costs of litigation, which far exceed the amount of the outstanding claim (claims are often trivial and often essentially irrelevant for the represented party). 

One lecture segment was dedicated to common European principles on collective legal protection mechanisms in cases of mass rights violations, on which EU countries develop their national mechanisms for collective rights protection. The issues related to the proceedings for omission/prohibition and the proceedings for compensation were discussed, including the issues of active legal standing, distribution of information, bearing the costs of the proceedings, and the possibility of applying alternative methods to resolve collective disputes. The participants were encouraged to think about the possibilities of implementing these principles when designing domestic collective protection mechanisms, the introduction of which would contribute to preventing the occurrence of mass litigation. 

To suppress this harmful phenomenon, among other things, it is necessary: 

- the introduction (more precisely, the return) of the collective action in the legal system of Serbia; 

- standardization of court practice; 

- more serious dealing with issues related to court experts (and expert findings), especially in cases of mass lawsuits; 

- informing the residents of southern and central Serbia about this problem; 

- strengthening the capacity of local attorney's offices; 

- raising awareness about the disciplinary responsibility of lawyers and bar associations. 


Most of these interventions can be realized exclusively through amendments to the Law on Civil Procedure. 


The lecture was realized with the support of the Open Society Foundation


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