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Debates over Group Litigation in Comparative Perspective
International Law Forum Du Droit International (2000)
  • Samuel P. Baumgartner, University of Akron

Under this heading, Duke University School of Law and the Facult6 de droit de l'Universitd de Gen~ve cohosted an international conference in Geneva on July 21-22, 2000. The conference convenor, Professor Thomas Rowe of Duke, succeeded in bringing together a respectable number of leading judges, academics, and practitioners from various countries, mostly Europeans and Americans (including a number of practitioners and scholars from South America), to discuss the merits and demerits of group and class-action litigation. The debates were highly profitable not only because of the quality of the speakers, but also because of the conference format: After traditional sessions with speakers and commenters on U.S. class actions; group litigation in other common law countries; traditional civil law approaches; and on class-actions and proposals in Brazil and Scandinavia,' participants had a chance to join the discussion in smaller break-out sessions on specific subtopics. Thereafter, Professor Arthur Miller treated the audience to a one-and-a-half-hour Socratic-style dialogue with some 20 panelists from the various break-out groups. This dialogue had the benefit of forcing the panelists to listen and to respond to specific arguments rather than letting them present well rehearsed statements. In the hands of a recognized master of the Socratic method, this approach elicited a veritable fireworks of excellent arguments on various aspects of group litigation, summarizing, and often critically improving on, what had been said previously during the conference.

Publication Date
Citation Information
Samuel P. Baumgartner, Debates over Group Litigation in Comparative Perspective, 2 International Law Forum Du Droit International 254 (2000).