Group proceedings are based on the principle of representation, which means that during the proceedings, it is the group representative, carrying out the group’s interests, who acts on behalf of the group. The group itself, without a representative, cannot initiate a group (class) action, as only the group representative is entitled (has the legal capacity) to do so.
The rule of representation means that in group proceedings only the group representative has a status of the claimant. The representative participates in the proceedings under their own name but on behalf of all the group members, simultaneously pursuing their own claims (barring situations where this function is performed by the consumer ombudsman or the Financial Ombudsman) as well as those of the remaining group members.
The representative may therefore be either a member of the group or a district (municipal) consumer ombudsman in cases concerning the protection of consumer interests.
In addition, since the amendment, which entered into force on March 16, 2023, the group’s representative may be the Financial Ombudsman – in the scope of claims:
Group proceedings require mandatory representation by a lawyer, which means that the representative has to be represented by an attorney at law or legal counsel (of course, except for cases where the group representative is an attorney at law or legal counsel; this requirement also does not apply when the representative is the Financial Ombudsman). The group representative decides on the choice of a professional attorney to represent him in group proceedings, gives him or her a power of attorney, and also negotiates and enters into a legal representation agreement with an attorney.