Guest Editor’s Introduction: The Past, Present, and Future of Class Actions in Canada

AuthorJasminka Kalajdzic
Jasminka Kalajdzic*
It was an honour to be invited to act as guest editor of the tenth-anniver-
sary is sue of the Canadian Class Action Review. The selection, review, and
editing of the papers i n this issue gave me a unique opportunity to engage
with lawyer s and academics dedicated to the analysis and practice of
class action litigat ion. Their papers not only chronicle the important
developments of the past decade of clas s action jurisprudence but also
signal what may be coming in the years ahead.
We begin with Michael Molavi. In “Beyond the Courtroom: Access
to Justice, Privatization, and the Future of Class Action Research,” he
takes us th rough the f‌ive waves of access to justice discourse and sit uates
class actions w ithin second-wave efforts to focus on the legal needs of
collective actors. Despite an emphas is on the economic rationale adopted
by courts in the early evolution of the device, recent literature and judi-
cial writ ing recognize that non-economic barr iers to justice must also be
overcome. In this way, class actions may serve a social mission as much
as a practical one.
The practical problem of f‌inancing class actions is at the forefront of
much access to justice literatu re, as Molavi conf‌irms. He argues th at exist-
ing institutional funding like the Class Proceedings Fund in Ontario is
not without its critics but th at public funding is desirable when litiga-
tion engages public interests. He al so discusse s the political dimensions
of class actions, with a focus on the role of the “private attorney gen-
eral” — entrepreneurial cl ass counsel who, for their own f‌inancial gain,
aggressively pursue defendants who violate regulator y laws. Although
the privatizat ion of regulatory enforcement may enjoy wide provincial
support, Molavi questions t he wisdom of permitting market forces to
determine social priorities and call s for better empirical research to sub-
stantiate claims that class actions enhance access to justice.
Several of the threads woven into Molavi’s essay are taken up by
* Associate P rofessor, University of Windsor, Faculty of L aw.
ccar 10.indb 3 1/19/2015 9:09:47 AM

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