Group action for the protection of the public interest in Lithuania.
An institute of group action is new in the legal system of Lithuania and has not been widely researched. The Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania of 2002, Article 49, part 5 provides that in order to defend the public interest the group action can be brought. However, none of such actions have been brought so far. The reason for this is not only a lack of experience, but also insufficient procedural regulation of group action. The Code of Civil procedure of the Republic of Lithuania provides for an individualistic model of litigation. This model is limited, since it enables to defend in court only individual rights or interests. This determines certain problems to establish the institute of group action in the Lithuanian legal system. A classical procedure of group actions is primarily intended for the protection of the interests of large groups. However, the public interest may also be successfully defended by group actions. Such a way of protection of the public interest is chosen also in Lithuania. The author considers that the procedure of group actions may protect the public interest more effectively and more expansively. However, private parties in Lithuania do not have a possibility to defend the public interest since this may be done only by a prosecutor or another authorized institution. Therefore, such regulation of the protection of the public interest does not reflect the whole potential of the institute of group action to protect the public interest. This and other issues of the institute of group actions could be resolved by introducing a classic model of group action to the Lithuanian legal system, which would not be limited to the protection of the public interest, but would also enhance the protection of private interests of an entire group of individuals.
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