THE SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS CLASS ACTIONS

In October of 2001, the members of the Collective worked with four people who were present during the Summit of the Americas. In the name of all those present during the Summit, each of the four filed a Petition for authorisation to launch a class action before the Superior Court in the district of Qu├ębec. These four people and all those who will eventually be implicated in these class actions are represented by Mr. Denis Poitras. Even though these four actions target the same defendants (the police forces involved and their political superiors), they were brought separately because each one is dedicated to a specific group that has suffered violations of particular rights. All people who correspond to the definition of "member" are automatically included in the class action, unless they expressly exclude themselves. The definition of "member", which is different for each of the four suits, must be approved by the judge hearing the petition.

The judge hearing the petition must decide if the petitioners went through a sufficiently representative experience of the events that happened, to the point of being able to represent the other people who suffered the same police abuse. The judge will also determine the exact definition of the members of the group. If this first step is successful, the petitioners will be accorded the status of representative, and the real class action will begin. At the end of this process, the judge could recognise that the police forces and their political superiors adopted tactics and actions that constitute violations of human rights. The court could then accord financial damages to compensate all members of the class action, that is, all those who fit the definition of member as validated by the judge hearing the application of authorisation

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