As a member of the class, you do not actively participate in the case. However, this does not mean you do not have rights as a class member.
A class member must be given notice once a class action is certified. The notice will include:
- A description of the class action;
- Information on how to opt-out of the class action; and
- The contact information of class counsel, among other things.
Notice can take many forms, such as through print advertising, by mail or on a website. The form of the notice will be decided by the court.
Most class action jurisdictions in Canada are “opt out”. This means people may be automatically part of a class action without taking any steps to be included. However, an individual class member may “opt out” of a class action if they wish. A notice will usually explain how a class member can “opt out”, or the Class Action Clinic can assist you. There are many reasons why a person may choose to “opt out:, but the most common is so that they can pursue a lawsuit on their own.
If you do not opt out by the deadline set by the court, then you will automatically be included in the class.
All settlements for class actions must be approved by the court. A class member has the right to officially object to a settlement they find unfair or inappropriate. Typically, information about how to officially object, including any deadlines, will be found on a class action’s notice website or can be determined by contacting class counsel. The Class Action Clinic can also help class members get information about a proposed settlement and determine if they wish to support or object to the settlement.
Rights Upon Settlement
A class member must be informed of any settlement that is made, and what is required to make a claim under the terms of the settlement. It is up to the court to decide the method of providing this notice of settlement and how class members can go about claiming their money. The Class Action Clinic can help class members make their settlement claims.