Class Action for Mass Tort in Comparative Law…Towards a Special Legal Regulation in Arab Laws: Qatari and Jordanian Laws as a Model
Prof. Nisreen Salamah Mahasneh
Professor of Civil Law
College of Law – University of Qatar
The American Federal rules of Civil Procedures regulates class action, it is an optional lawsuit conducted by a large number of people who are harmed by an accident or products, and they ask for damages by one lawsuit, because of common questions of law and/or facts. Class action in mass tort lawsuits has pros and cons; on the one hand, it guarantees consistent judgments, besides saving the time and effort of the judiciary. On the other hand, it is submitted that harm differs from one plaintiff to another and cannot be subject to one lawsuit. However, American courts accept class action in mass tort within some conditions and requirements. It remains that the court has a broad authority in dealing with such a case, starting from certification, appointing a lawyer, giving notices, supervising any settlement, and finally distributing the compensations on the plaintiffs.
Both Qatari and Jordanian laws do not recognize such a case, this study reveals that the rules of joinder under both laws do not constitutes a parallel for a class action. However, article 70 of the Jordanian Civil Procedures Act recognizes a relatively close legal rule, however, it is not adequate, and the Jordanian judiciary does not implement Art 70 in mass tort lawsuits. It is recommended that Art 70 is amended by allowing more authority to the court in leading the mass tort lawsuits, besides, the traditional rules of compensation should be abandoned to the extent that the court looks at all harms of the plaintiffs as one harm, not different ones. Furthermore, the Qatari legislator is recommended to adopt a similar legal framework to be used in mass tort lawsuits
Keywords: Class Action, Joinder, joint lawsuit, Mass Tort.