Archive for June 2nd, 2008

If you are new to class action law or even if you are a seasoned class action practitioner, you may be curious about the origins and history of class actions.  Below you will find a sampling of articles available on the Internet that trace the history of class actions from medieval England to the 1966 amendment to Rule 23, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and beyond.  This list is by no means exhaustive, but I tried to pick out articles available online that focus on or at least include a section dedicated to the history of class actions.

Articles on the History of U.S. Class Action law

This 2002 article by Susan T. Spence provides a “short history of class action law”:


This excerpt from a Rand Corporation publication entitled Class Action Dilemmas traces the “Historical Roots” of class actions:


(for a link to all the book’s chapters and information on how to purchase the book, see here)

This article by Mark B. Seiger and Christopher W. Healy contains a short section on the history and development of class action law in the U.S.


(See here for a link to a full reprint of the same article).

This law review article authored by Professor Debra Lyn Bassett discusses the history of class actions in the U.S. and the development of the “representative” and “aggregate” facets to class actions:


See the outline entitled Sidebar following this article by Professor Edward F. Sherman, which outlines key changes in U.S. class action law since the 1960s:


This article by Michael R. Mattioli discusses the history of the right to opt out of class actions and other lawsuits:


This Legal History Blog entry provides an abstract of an article by Professor Stephen B. Burbank setting the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) in a historical context:


Articles on the History of Class Actions Outside the United States

See this link for a very thorough review of the development of class action law in Quebec, Canada beginning with its origins in England:


This one provides a history of class actions in Brazil:


While this one provides a more recent history of class actions in Australia:


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