Malta: The Collective Proceedings Act, 2012

Last Updated: 13 February 2013
Article by Alexia Galea and Clara Borg

The newly enacted Collective Proceedings Act, Chapter 520 of the Laws of Malta (hereinafter the 'Act') came into force on the 1st August 2012, giving consumers, for the first time, the right to institute proceedings on a collective basis. This type of redress is common in the USA and the European Union is currently working on the development of a similar law at a European level. The legislation provides a procedural solution to those situations where a group of persons have claims arising from common issues. Such persons have been granted the right to seek redress collectively. Currently, this law only applies to matters arising under consumer and competition law administered by the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority. By virtue of this Act, individuals may seek redress collectively, through the institution of one court case, represented by one individual.

Before this law was enacted, consumers could file separate and individual proceedings to protect their consumer rights. The Act has provided consumers with a more effective and less costly means of redress in the event of common infringements of the main consumer laws in Malta, facilitating justice and providing more opportunities for consumers to seek justice to protect their rights.

Members specified in the collective proceedings or class members are given the opportunity to opt into proceedings within a period to be specified by the Court, which shall be published in the Gazette and in a local English and Maltese newspaper. Nonetheless, a class member may not be represented in collective proceedings if he has already filed a cause with the common issues, unless such class member discontinues or applies to stay the cause before opting‐in the collective proceedings. Furthermore, a class member may not be represented where such member has already reached an out of court settlement on the common issues set out in the collective proceedings, where an arbitration decision between the class member and the defendant has already been issued or where a decision on the common issues set out in the collective proceedings has already become a res judicata and remedies have been decided in favour of the class member.

A pre‐trial hearing shall be held whereby the Court will decide whether the proceedings shall be continued or stayed. The Court will allow collective proceedings to take place in the event that it is satisfied that common issues are raised and that such proceedings are brought on behalf of an identified class of two or more persons, whereby a 'class' is defined in the Act as a group of persons who have suffered or are suffering harm and whose claims arise from common issues. The Court should also be satisfied that collective proceedings are the most appropriate means to resolve the matter in the most efficient and fair manner, which shall be determined by taking into account the benefits of the proposed collective proceedings and the nature of the class. In the event that the Court declares the proceedings not to be collective proceedings, the action will be dismissed. In such case, there is nothing in the Act which prevents the parties of the joint action from instituting proceedings on an individual basis.

The class representative is obliged to act in the best interests of the class members, explaining the nature of the civil proceedings and keeping them informed on the progress of the proceedings, the class representative shall also maintain a register wherein the identity and claims of the class members are recorded. The class representative may be substituted should the latter no longer enjoy the approval of the Court in terms of the Act. Nonetheless, in order for a class representative to withdraw from its role, permission from the Court is required, whereby the latter will consider whether the class representative has given notice of its application to withdraw from its role and has satisfied any conditions imposed by the Court.

In collective proceedings, the Court shall primarily hear and determine the common issues for a class action. It will then hear and determine the common issues for a sub‐class action, that is, common issues pertaining to only some of the class members. Individual issues are heard and determined only after the common issues are resolved. One judgment may be given with respect to the common issues and separate judgments in respect of any other individual issues.

The costs may be awarded in favour or against the class representative and in the event of a sub‐class action, may be awarded to the class representative of that sub‐class. Furthermore, with respect to individual issues, the costs shall be awarded in favour or against the relevant individuals. In the event that the Court finds the collective proceedings to be frivolous or vexatious, the Court may award increased costs of up to two thousand five hundred Euros (€2,500) against the class representative.

The enactment of the Act therefore aims to (i) increase individual access to justice, as it gives consumers the opportunity to pursue a claim that they may not have individually pursued; (ii) induce increased compliance by undertakings as a result of the threat of joint action; (iii) improve judicial efficiency and economy, as the Act provides that individual cases which may be collectively heard shall be heard as one case rather than separate cases and therefore this will speed up proceedings in court.

The Act has however failed to address certain issues relating to juridical interest and the calculation of damages. Although the Act has provided for the definition of 'common issues' as being those situations which are common, even if not necessarily identical issues of fact, or those situations which are common, even if not necessarily identical issues of law that arise from common but not necessarily identical facts, the Act fails to provide for the interest which each individual should have as a common ground to be considered as being a common issue in terms of the Act and therefore giving rise to it being heard collectively in a class. Furthermore, the Act fails to lay down a method which may be used to assess the damages in collective redress proceedings, which gives the impression that the issue is determined on a case by case basis by the judge presiding over such proceedings.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions