Although the class action lawsuit is most often associated with the litigious legal culture in the United States, the fact is that in recent years class action and other group litigation procedures have been expanding around the world. Forces of globalization and the rise of organized groups of aggrieved claimants have encourage a host of countries to adopt class, collective or other representative action procedures, and still other countries are currently considering the adoption of these kinds of legal schemes.


The availability of these kinds of collective action procedures in many countries is an increasing concern for legal and insurance professionals around the world, as well as for their clients. However, even with the vast resources of the Internet only a mouse click away, it can be very challenging to determine whether any given country has adopted some form of collective action and how any given country’s collective action scheme compares to others.


Fortunately, there is now a terrific resource that collects and organizes this information in a single volume. The book, entitled World Class Actions: A Guide to Group and Representative Actions Around the Globe (about which refer here), was edited by Paul Karlsgodt, of the Baker & Hostetler law firm. (Karlsgodt may be familiar to many readers as the author of The book consolidates the work of 53 different authors from around the world, whose contributions address the development of collective action procedures across the globe.


The book’s various chapters address the availability of class procedures not only in North America and Europe, but Latin America, Asia and even parts of Africa. Each chapter is written by a local attorney familiar with the laws, best practices, legal climate and culture of the jurisdiction. Each of the entries describes the relevant aspects of the country or countries civil court system and surveys the available collective action procedures. Each entry also includes relevant cultural considerations that pertain to the processes and remedies available in the relevant country’s courts.


The book also incorporates a separate section of essays on the issues concerning transnational law – that is, issue or actions that span geographic and political boundaries. This portion of the book addresses the challenges surrounding efforts to develop binding global solutions to private disputes. In addition, the book addresses the problems that can arise when  the claimants are not all located in a single country or when there are  parallel actions involving the same defendants proceeding in multiple jurisdictions.


This new book is provides a helpful introduction to the incredibly complex and varied topic of collective actions around the world. It will serve as a valuable resource for lawyers and other professionals as they attempt to navigate and develop strategies for litigation and risk management while doing business abroad. This book will be particularly valuable for those whose jobs require them to understand and manage the litigation risks their clients must attempt to manage in their operations around the world. I highly recommend this book.


The Class Action Playbook: And speaking of class actions, the same publisher that is responsible for World Class Actions has also recently published the second edition of The Class Action Playbook (about which refer here), a single volume class action litigation resource written by Brian Anderson of the O’Melveny & Myers law firm and Andrew Trask of the McGuire Woods law firm. (Trask may be familiar to readers of this blog as the author of the Class Action Countermeasures blog.)


The Playbook is intended as a guide for practitioners and others who must navigate the class action process in the U.S. courts, aiming to provide the requisite information to permit the participants to develop their strategies as the action progresses. The authors explain the importance of the issues at each stage in the process and the factors participants should consider in deciding what actions to take.


The publication of the second edition is particularly timely as there have a number of recent significant developments, including for example, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in the Wal-Mart case, the Concepcion case, and the Matrixx Initiatives case. The updated version is a useful practical guide for anyone involved in class action litigation.


And Speaking of Collective Actions: A flock of starlings is called a “murmuration,” but that description hardly does justice to what starlings are capable of collectively. As described in a November 2011 post on (here):


No one knows why they do it. Yet each fall, thousands of starlings dance in the twilight above Gretna, Scotland. The birds gather in magical shape-shifting flocks called murmurations, having migrated in the millions from Russia and Scandinavia to escape winter’s bite. Scientists aren’t sure how they do it, either. Even complex algorithmic models haven’t yet explained the starlings’ acrobatics, which rely on the tiny bird’s quicksilver reaction time of under 100 milliseconds to avoid aerial collisions—and predators—in the giant flock. Despite their show of force in the dusky sky, starlings have declined significantly in the UK in recent years, perhaps because of a drop in nesting sites. The birds still roost in several of Britain’s rural pastures, however, settling down to sleep (and chatter) after the evening’s ballet.


I confess that until I had seen the video below, sent to me by an industry colleague, I had no idea that starlings were capable of anything remotely interesting. But I have to say that now that I am acquainted with the murmuration of starlings, I have an entirely new appreciation for the birds. Please give your self a treat and watch this video, embedded below.


A November 8, 2011 Wired Magazine article entitled “The Startling Science of Starling Murmurations” can be found here.


Murmuration from Islands & Rivers on Vimeo.