Consumer group can be party to litigation

The Sala Primera of the Corte Suprema de Justicia has determined that an association of consumers can be a legitimate party to litigation.

The case involved a state bank and the Asociación Nacional de Consumidores Libres. The case was in a lower court, but the question arose of whether an association could be a participant in a legal or administrative action. The question went to the Sala Primera.

The high court stopped short of creating a type of class action, but it did say that such consumer interests transcend individuals. It cited the Costa Rican Constitution’s Article 46 and the requirement that consumers and users have the right to protection of their health, environment, security and economic interests and that the state should help those organizations that are constructed for the defense of these rights.

As a result of the decision, the case was remanded back to the lower court, the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo, for a decision based on the facts of the case. The case involves the change in the interest rate on certain loans.

The decision was released as a summary by the Poder Judicial.

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