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Class Actions Team

Kevin McLaren

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Alexia Majidi

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Serena Cheong

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Mikis Manolis

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Frequently Asked Questions

What types of cases qualify for a class action lawsuit?

Many type of cases can qualify as a class action lawsuit. However, there must be at least two people bringing common or similar claims by another party (usually a large corporation). 

What is certification?

In BC, class actions must be certified before proceeding to a trial. At a certification hearing, the court will determine, amongst other things, whether a class action is the preferred method of proceeding with the claim, if the proposed class has common issues, and if there is an identifiable class. If the court is satisfied that the lawsuit meets all certification requirements, then it will issue an order certifying the lawsuit as a class action.

Do I need to pay upfront fees to participate in a class action?

No, and you will not need to pay any fees. The costs of pursuing a class action are absorbed by the law firm, and their legal fee must be approved by the court, which must be fair and reasonable in the circumstances. 

How long does a class action lawsuit typically take?

It depends on the issues involved, but class action lawsuits typically last several years.

Can I opt out of a class action if I prefer to pursue an individual lawsuit?

Yes. This can be done when notice of the class action cerification has been issued, and that notice will tell you what you need to do to opt out. There is usually a deadline to opt out.  

How can I stay informed about the progress of a class action lawsuit?

The law firm retained by the representative plaintiff will usually have a section on their website (or a separate website) with updates on a particular class action. You will also recieve notice of a class action certification once the claim reaches that stage.

What is the role of the representative plaintiff in a class action?

The representative plaintiff takes on a more active role than the other class members in a class action lawsuit. They volunteer to start the lawsuit on behalf of all class members, and their names will be used for the claim (e.g., Chan v. Big Company). The representative plaintiff will instruct class counsel and may be required to testify. Because of these extra duties, the court may award the representative plaintiff an honorarium at the conclusion of the claim in addition to what they would get from the settlement as a member of the class. 

How is a class action different from an individual lawsuit?

A class action lawsuit is brought by one or a few individuals (the representative plaintiff(s)) on behalf of a group of people with common or similar claims against another party/parties. Class action lawsuits are typically brought when the individual losses are modest where it is not practical or economical for an individual to bring their own lawsuit, but there are many people similarly affected.

What happens if the class action is unsuccessful?

If a class action is unsuccessful, only the representative plaintiff may bear the responsibility of paying a portion of the winning party’s legal costs. The rest of the class members will not be responsible for any legal fees or costs.  

Who can initiate a class action lawsuit?

For a Canadian class action lawsuit, anyone who lives in Canada who fits in the proposed class definition of a class action lawsuit can initiate a claim. 

Can I join a class action if I live outside the jurisdiction where the lawsuit was filed?

In BC, if you are captured under the class definition (e.g., all individuals in Canada who bought plane tickets before January 1, 2020), then you are part of the class action even if you live outside of the jurisidiction where the lawsuit was filed. 

Can I consult with a lawyer before deciding to join a class action?

In BC, you are automatically part of a class action if you are captured under the class definition. However, once notice of the class action certification has been issued, you can consult with a lawyer on whether you wish to opt out of the class action and/or to object to the settlement. 

What rights do class members have in a class action lawsuit?

You have the right to opt out of a class action lawsuit and object to a settlement. If the class action lawsuit settles or succeeds at trial, you may also be entitled to damages. 

Current Class Actions


February 4, 2022

WestJet is alleged to have published two prices for checked bags, one that was free and another that was higher, and then charged passengers for the higher fee between September 2014 and March 2019.

September 8, 2021

Recently, Hammerco Lawyers held the airline giant Cathay Pacific accountable in a class action win affecting over 9 million passengers.

April 23, 2019

Health Canada warns of increased cancer risk from long-term exposure to Losartan.