Representative actions

What are representative actions?

Representative actions (also known as collective or class actions) are legal steps taken on behalf of groups of consumers by “Qualified Entities”.

These actions aim to deal with illegal practices by businesses where many consumers are victims in the same breach of their consumer rights.

The Qualified Entity (QE) can ask the High Court for two types of actions to address the issue and make up for the harm caused:

  1. Injunctive measures: the court orders the business to stop the harmful activity
  2. Redress measures: actions ordered by the court to make things right for harmed consumers

Why are representative actions important?

Representative actions allow consumers to join together to stop widespread illegal or unfair practices that could harm many consumers at once.

The law on representative actions

The rules for representative actions are set out in the Representative Actions for the Protection of the Collective Interests of Consumers Act 2023. The Act came into force on 30 April 2024 and brings the EU Representative Actions Directive into law in Ireland.

Consumer rights you can address through representative action

You can be part of a representative action about unfair practices across many different areas of EU consumer protection law.

This covers issues such as data protection, financial services, telecoms services, health, energy and travel.

Who starts a representative action?

Consumer organisations or public bodies known as Qualified Entities (or QEs), bring representative actions on behalf of affected consumers.

Consumers themselves don’t start these actions but benefit from their results.

Who can be a Qualified Entity?

QEs must be legal non-profit groups with a real interest in protecting consumer rights.

Organisations must apply to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to become a QE.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment keeps a Register of Qualified Entities.

Agreeing to be part of the action

If you want to join a representative action against a business, you need to:

  1. Fill out the Notification by consumer to be represented by a Qualified Entity for redress measures (pdf) form.
  2. Send the completed form to the Qualified Entity handling the action.

By doing this you agree to:

  • Accept the outcome of the action
  • Not participate in any other group action or individual action against the same company for the same complaint

What does it cost to join the case?

Qualified Entities can charge consumers a small fee to join a representative action, up to a maximum of €25 per consumer.

What remedies or solutions can I expect?

Qualified Entities can ask for two types of actions to fix the problem for affected consumers.


QEs can ask the High Court to order the company to stop the harmful activity.


QEs can ask for actions (remedies) to make things right for harmed consumers.

This could include:

  • Financial compensation to make up for their losses
  • Repair or replacement of damaged goods
  • Cancelling unfair contracts

Outcome of a representative action

The Qualified Entity will keep you updated about any decisions made by the High Court on the validity or outcome of the representative action.

Special forms (Forms 4 and 4a) are used by the QE to notify consumers of the High Court's decision on whether the action can proceed or not.

Form 6 is used to inform consumers about redress measures ordered by the High Court, including how they can benefit from them and the time frame they can use them by.

Keeping information public

Each Qualified Entity (QE) must make public the details of representative actions they have started. This includes actions brought before the High Court or in another EU Member State.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment keeps a register of representative actions by registered QEs, which you can check on their website.

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