Get to Know How Class Action in Indonesia is Implemented
Class action in Indonesia has been much reformed, facilitating class representatives in filing their suit on behalf of many parties.
The Indonesian legal system, powerfully influenced by the former administration of the Dutch East Indies, has eased the people nowadays. One of the significant achievements of the legal entity is nothing else but how class actions are fully implemented. This law-related action allows groups of plaintiffs with indistinguishable behalf bringing their lawsuits in a court of law. For the details regarding the class action in Indonesia, learn them more through this clarification.
What is a Class Action?
Some might not be familiar with the definition of class action. To shed light upon the term, get to know what that is. A class action is a type of lawsuit commonly filed by people in a group sharing an affinity regarding interests referring to the same legal basis.
Uniquely, other participants are not required to take part in the process of a lawsuit. In other words, the legal action can be represented by a competent individual. The proficiency of the chosen one includes how honest the person is, how emotionally smart the representative is, and some other factors. Moreover, most importantly, he or she is approved by the rests of people.
Does the lawsuit involve an authority from an attorney? Instead of benefitting the presence of an advocate or someone that practices law, class action relies on a qualified trustee. The representative can be more than one person. However, it requires that the spokesperson or mouthpiece must originate from the same group demanding their right. Speaking of which, a class action in Indonesia is originally formed based on the common law.
How Indonesian Class Actions are Framed
When the legal framework is highlighted, there must be legal protection encompassing the Indonesian class actions. The legal matter is based on the Supreme Court regulation number 1 of 2002. The Indonesian Chief Justice issued this stipulation on April 26th, 2006.
In the beginning, this law is made to give rise to orderliness, assurance, legal examination, as well as other suits filed by the representative of class actions. In Bahasa, this term is better known as gugatan perwakilan kelompok.
In the beginning, we mean before 2002’s law was released, the procedure of lawsuit using class representative has existed by way of Law number 23 of 1997 concerning environmental management. It doesn’t stop there; the mechanism of legal matters (pretty similar to the procedure of class action) are protected through Law number 8 of 1999 concerning consumers’ protection and Law number 41 of 1999 about forestry.
What types of the field are that class actions often applied? In Indonesia, the lawsuits representing concerns from multifarious parties are frequently used in these following fields – law of consumer protection, the law of forestry, the law of environment management, the law of waste management, and the same is true with the law of construction service. One of the famed class action lawsuit examples in the nation is nothing else but the case judgment of WALHI (the Indonesian forum for the environment).
Aside from stipulation number one (in the previous government regulation), class actions (with a slightly different procedure) are frequently mentioned in Law number 2 of 2004. Although the term is not palpably stated, it refers to the collective lawsuit.
The ordinance claims that a lawsuit on behalf of numerous plaintiffs can be collectively lodged. Unlike the common class actions, the collective lawsuit is in the authorization of an attorney. Although both legal matters have distinctive methods, their core value is the same.
In customer protection law, the term of class actions is highly expressed in Law number 8 1999. The statement within the article includes, “lawsuit against the breaches committed by the business people may be lodged by a group of consumers with the same interest (point b).” This indication confirms that class actions are already recognized in a particular law.
In line with the law of customer protection, the lawsuits are often pointed out in Law number 41 of 1999 concerning forestry. In article 73, it claims that any forest organizations in Indonesia come with a right to file their lawsuits in the form of representative.
What’s the Difference between Citizen Lawsuit and Class Action?
Generally speaking, civil lawsuit and class action totally are different regarding the procedure. Two points need to be highlighted when it comes to a fundamental difference. First of all, it’s about the examination of the preliminary case. During this phase, class action requires notification stages and certification as well. Secondly, the point is none other than the verdict execution stage. In this step, either proposal of tentative settlement or an important notification dealing with the compensation distribution needs their presence.
To give a better comparison, there is no harm to present the common procedures in citizen lawsuit in Indonesia. The early stage is marked by providing some required documents to meet the administrative requirements. The second one is about counter plea (legal plea replication).
This phase allows the plaintiff to conduct demurrer and the judge can issue an injunction dealing with this. Showing evidence is the following thing to perform until a conclusion between parties is eventually reached. Moreover, last but not least is the verdict execution.
What are the Requirements for Class Action Lawsuit?
Some of you might wonder how the prerequisites for class action lawsuit (particularly in Indonesia) are carried out. It turns out that there are three kinds of class action procedure. The first requirement states that class action is applicable under this circumstance – a lawsuit involving plenty of people (parties with the same interest) is no longer effective if it’s lodged separately. The second consideration is elucidated by a requirement regarding similar facts or events. You need to underline that the similarity in legal matters must be substantial.
In addition to the second precondition, either claim or demand brought by the class members should be in the same case – and the representative must literally “represent” the people, voicing the group’s advocacy. What about the third deliberation? It highly requires that the class representatives must be serious and honest when it comes to suing the community’s right. This one should be appreciated as it has an objective to protect the class members.
What Qualifies as a Class Action Lawsuit apart from the Basic Requirements?
Aside from three requirements, other six additional elements qualify the class action lawsuit. They include:
- Identity information of class representatives must be complete and clear.
- Details of class (including the particular definition of class) need to be included. Meanwhile, names of class members don’t need to be addressed.
- Information on the subject of class members is presented concerning a mandatory notification.
- Law and fact statement must be conveyed clearly, and the interests of class representatives as well as class members must be expressed in detail.
- Once the demands carried by the groups are found to be various (because of dissimilar characteristics), the class action can be divided into smaller parts.
- The compensation demand must be presented in apparent ways and with complete details. To convince this, a proposal covering the compensation distribution procedure is also included.
How to File a Class Action Lawsuit
The mechanism to file a class action lawsuit in Indonesia is relatively simplified. In general, there are four steps you need to follow:
- Groups with similar legal concerns are organized.
- A set of data and fact regarding the legal matter supporting the evidence are collected.
- The problems concerning the lawsuits are identified, mapped out, and analyzed.
- The lawsuit is filed.
Once the lawsuit is successfully lodged, the judge will inspect the requirements and sorts of criteria whether they are eligible or not. The judge also makes a final decision and consideration concerning the prerequisites. As a matter of course, there are two possibilities when it comes to judging decision – it can be either valid or invalid. If the judge agrees with the filed lawsuits, the class representatives or class members will get notified.
Speaking of notification, there is a vast variety of options like online-based notification, village unit office or local government officers, as well as electronic media. Some of you might wonder why the notification involves electronic media. You need to understand that the purpose of informing the judge decision by way of it is to let the rests of groups know how far the legal process is. The detail of notification is regulated in the regulation of Supreme Court number 1 of 2002 particularly in article 7 paragraph 4.
What about if one of the class members steps down from the group? If this case is known as “opt-out” happens, the judge has a right to know the resignation. In other words, the presence of the judge’s consent can’t be taken lightly in the matter of this. Those who decide to opt out should fill in a particular form as specified in the enclosure of the common regulation of class actions (number 1 of 2002). In compliance with the stipulation, any parties deciding to opt out are not subject to the verdict of the court.
Finally, a compensation suit is another regard when it comes to legal procedure in Indonesian class actions. If it’s successfully granted, the judge is accessible to decide the amounts of compensation, the method of compensation distribution, which type of class or sub-class is addressed to, and the same is true with a range of steps carried by the class representatives including notifying any essential information to other class members.
What Types of Cases of Class Actions that Once Took Place in Indonesia?
There have been 20 to 30 cases of class actions reported in Indonesia since 1997. We can say that the cases belong to two periods of time – specifically before and after the general ordinance, i.e., Supreme Court regulation number 1 of 2002 regarding Indonesian class actions.
Have you ever heard a case which some plaintiffs delivered a lawsuit concerning power outage in the island of Java and Bali in 1997? Unfortunately, this case was not valid since it turned out that it didn’t belong to any environment-related case.
What types of cases can be filed by way of class actions? As mentioned before, cases need legal action through class actions must be highly correlated to the consumer protection law, law of forestry, law of protection and management of the environment, and not to mention the construction service law. Unless the case is within one of them, the judge will decline your legal matter as the case of power outage in Java and Bali.
In addition to the rejected case in 1997, some other cases gained serious attention at that time, i.e., land and forest fires that occurred in North Sumatra and household liquid petroleum gas. The fire case was initially lodged by the residents of North Sumatra who seriously encountered health problems caused by dense and choking smoke.
The demand of the petitioners was eventually successful although the court partly accepted it. As a result, the defendants were required to compensate mainly for the victims and forest rehabilitation.
In the past (particularly before 1997), there were also some cases on behalf of the Indonesian people. In 1987, RO Tambunan sued Bentoel Remaja, a cigarette company. The figure demanded the company to be responsible for the advertising in public space.
In this case, the big corporation’s advertisement had been aired on the radio. His lawsuit was basically to represent the Indonesian children and young generation. Unluckily, the lawsuit he filed found failure as the panel didn’t accept it.
Another rejected filed a lawsuit also took place in the case of Muchtar Pakpahan. The person who suffered from dengue fever sued the governor of Jakarta in 1989. Not only did the legal practitioner represent himself but he went for his demand on behalf of all patients of dengue fever in Jakarta. Why his lawsuit was refused as the panel didn’t find any legal relationship between the claimant and the defendant.
A case that involved nine plaintiffs suing the Indonesian oil and gas company was also found to be dramatic. The lawsuit appeared on the surface as the result of the government’s decision raising the price of petrol to 40 percent in a sudden way.
When it comes to class-action lawsuit rebates and settlement, the judge finally discovered that the petrol rise was unlawful and eventually decided that the defendant have to compensate around 144,000 per month. Besides, the judge asked the defendant to create a compensation payment commission.
Current Cases Involving Class Actions in Indonesia
Current trend here refers to all cases that happen after the Supreme Court regulation number 1 of 2002 is released. In 2002 itself, there was a worth-noting case that involved the victims of Jakarta’s flood. According to a credible source, it was found that 52 inhabitants had lost their lives, hundred thousand of people were evacuated, and dozen thousands were sick. The class representatives on behalf of the victims filed their lawsuit, demanding against the president and local governor. Although the lodging procedure was successful, the claim was unfortunately rejected.
Aside from the case of Jakartan flood victims; there was another instance – a lawsuit filed by a class member comprising eight victims of landslide disaster that took place in Mandalawangi, Garut Regency, West Java. Based on a report concerning the calamity occurring in January 2003, one people were missing and hundreds of houses destroyed, and thousands of people were evacuated. The lawsuit was entitled to the local forest management better known as Perum Perhutani. In the end, the court accepted the claimant’s suit and made the agency pay 10 billion IDR.
In 2011, a case concerning environment issue let WALHI (the Indonesian forum for the environment) lodged a claim against Aceh government (specifically the local governor). The demand was issued because the local administration allowed a non-governmental organization (in this case was PT Kalista Alama) to cultivate plantations. The government’s permit broke the environmental laws. In the end, the court decided for not allowing the administration is granting a permit to the organization.
Does the Application of Class Actions Completely Work out in Indonesia?
Arguably, the implementation of class actions in Indonesia gets improved from year to year. Instead of filing a lawsuit individually, the claimants have a deep awareness to bring their demand in the court by taking advantage of class actions.
The interesting fact is that the Indonesian court has turned its traditional legal standing doctrine. Nowadays, any organizations (either from government or non-government) can file their demand or suit on behalf of the society. When it comes to legal comprehension, the current judges are nothing yet outstanding. In the near future, the Indonesian government will issue a brand-new civil law procedure.
Simply put, a class action in Indonesia is covered in 2002 regulation allowing the class representatives on behalf of plaintiffs with similar interests to file their demand. Out of countless cases, some are successfully performed by way of class actions.
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