Is the “Opt-Out” Proceeding an Effective Approach to Enhance Antitrust Collective Action in China? With comparative reference to UK’s New Regime

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Various forms of collective litigation models have been developed in different jurisdictions, such as the US, the EU and its Member States, as efficient mechanisms for the bringing of antitrust litigation against large enterprises. However, in China, although the Civil Procedure Law provides several different models for the taking of collective action, in practice, however, the existing mechanisms for collective action have been rarely applied to antitrust damages litigation, due to inherent weaknesses and gaps in the different collective action models. In this article, the different China models of collective action shall be considered, whether joint action; “opt-in” representative action and “opt-out” action (the so-called consumers public interest collective action). In particular, the article seeks to enhance the use of collective proceedings in China in the field of antitrust damages litigation, by making comparative reference to the UK’s recent application of limited opt-out collective proceedings, which is changing the landscape of collective antitrust damages action in the UK, and makes appropriate suggestions for reform of collective action in China, for example by considering whether litigation could be brought on the basis of opt-in proceedings, or public interest opt-out proceedings, according to criteria, such as the scale of claimants, commonality, suitability, the public interest test and the goal of full compensation.