Theory of Class Actions

Overview

Shortlisted for the 2005 Walter Owen Book Prize

In Theory of Class Actions, Craig Jones provides a complete and comprehensive defence of the use of the class action for the resolution of mass tort claims. He explodes several popular myths regarding class actions including the notions that they infringe on litigative autonomy, they "blackmail" defendants, they pay too much to lawyers, and they are only effective for numerous, low-value claims.

Jones argues that legislatures', and more particularly courts', use of the device has been haphazard, unprincipled, and in large measure ineffective at realizing the principle functions of tort law--reduction of the overall costs of accidents through optimal deterrence and compensation. In response he sets out principles that might be followed by courts or legislatures in assessing the certification of proposed class actions, and in designing procedures to facilitate optimal realization of policy goals.

Reviews

"This book achieves a new intellectual plateau in our understanding of the nexus between the systems of production and justice. It reorients and advances the agenda for research and the terms of debate on mass tort class actions. ...[Jones’s] analysis, findings, and proposals will advance thinking on mass tort class actions worldwide... The book breaks new ground both in substance and methodology.”

Professor David Rosenberg, Harvard Law School

Table of Contents

Foreword by David Rosenberg
Author's Note
CHAPTER 1: Introduction

PART ONE: OPTIMAL AGGREGATION OF MASS TORT CLAIMS
CHAPTER 2: The Purpose and Function of Aggregation
CHAPTER 3: Deference and Behaviour Modification
CHAPTER 4: Approaches to "Fairness"
CHAPTER 5: Managing Structural Costs of Class Actions

PART TWO: CLASS ACTION LEGISLATION
CHAPTER 6: Canadian Class Action Policy
CHAPTER 7: Features and Problems of Canadian Class Action Regimes

PART THREE: NATIONAL CLASSES IN CANADA
CHAPTER 8: Problems of the National Class
CHAPTER 9: Interprovincial Consolidations

PART FOUR: REFINING CLASS ACTION SYSTEM DESIGN
CHAPTER 10: Proposals for Reform
CHAPTER 11: Conclusion

Table of Cases
Index

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