Outside the United States, class actions are a growing problem in Canada and are emerging throughout Latin America, where expanding the use of class actions is a regional trend.

Class actions are well entrenched in some of the Canadian provinces, in particular Ontario and Quebec. According to an ILR study, Canada has the second-most expensive liability system in the world. In a troubling development, third party litigation funding companies are becoming increasingly involved in Canadian class action cases.

In Mexico, legislation enacted in 2012 allowed class actions for consumer and environmental claims. However, the measure included important safeguards, such as class certification procedures, limits on lawyer fees and phased trials with an opt-in procedure. Some policymakers, consumer associations, and plaintiffs’ lawyers are now attempting to loosen these safeguards and expand the scope of the measure. In addition, two newly-enacted laws risk expanding civil liability through class actions.

In Brazil, several legislative proposals over the last few years have modified the current Brazilian class action system in ways incompatible with the constitutional principle of due process. These proposed changes could create mechanisms that either stimulate the filing of class actions or undermine safeguards to guarantee unbiased and predictable proceedings for both claimants and defendants.

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