Associations in Germany have various options through which to support plaintiffs. These are found in general procedural law, anti-discrimination law and consumer law. On the one hand, associations can support the plaintiffs on trial as legal advisors. In this case, the affected person is guiding the proceeding and the association is just supporting the plaintiff on the side.
Representative action presents another opportunity for the association to appear in court. Where associations would otherwise act as an assistance on the side of the plaintiff, a representative action allows the association to impose the rights of the affected person in one’s own name. The plaintiff transfers her*his right to bring a suit.
Additionally, there is the possibility of a group action. A group action allows the association under particular conditions to appear in court as the plaintiff. No one else is represented.
These possibilities are provided by various laws and are presented in detail in this dossier.