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FRCP 23 (Class Actions: All You Need To Know)

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How does FRCP Rule 23 work?

What’s important to know?

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Let me explain to you how Rule 23 FRCP works and why it’s important!

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What Is FRCP 23

FRCP 23 refers to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Section 23 titled “Class Actions”.

Rule 23 FRCP provides that, as a general rule, one or more members of a class may file a lawsuit (or be sued as the representative of the class) if:

  • There are many members to the class and that filing a joinder of all members would not be practical
  • The members have a common question of fact or law
  • The representative’s claims or defenses are typical of that of the class
  • The representative will fairly and adequately protect the interest of the class 

FRCP 23 provides for the civil procedural rules applicable to class actions.

Before diving into the details of Rule 23, let’s see what Section 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is composed of.

FRCP 23 Overview

What is the outline of FRCP 23?

FRCP Section 23 is composed of several paragraphs and subparagraphs providing the specific civil procedural rules applicable to class actions.

Here is the FRCP 23 outline:

  • FRCP 23(a) Prerequisites. 
  • FRCP 23(b) Types of Class Actions. A class action may be maintained if Rule 23(a) is satisfied and if:
  • FRCP 23(c) Certification Order; Notice to Class Members; Judgment; Issues Classes; Subclasses.
  • FRCP 23(d) Conducting the Action.
  • FRCP 23(e) Settlement, Voluntary Dismissal, or Compromise. 
  • FRCP 23(f) Appeals. 
  • FRCP 23(g) Class Counsel.
  • FRCP 23(h) Attorney’s Fees and Nontaxable Costs. 

How FRCP 23 Works

Now that we’ve seen the overall outline of FRCP 23, let’s look at each of the main paragraphs of this civil procedure rule.

FRCP 23(a) Class Action Prerequisites

Further to FRCP 23(a), a class action lawsuit may be filed by the representative of all members when:

  • There are many members to the class and it’s not practical for all to file a joinder (FRCP 23(a)(1))
  • The members have a common question of law or fact to submit to the court (FRCP 23(a)(2))
  • The claims or defenses of the representative is typical to the claims of defenses of teh class members (FRCP 23(a)(3))
  • The representative will fairly protect the interest of all members of the class (FRCP 23(a)(4))

FRCP 23(b) Types of Class Actions

Further to FRCP 23(b), a class action may be maintained if Rule 23(a) is satisfied and:

  • Prosecuting different civil lawsuits against individual members of the class could result in inconsistent judgments and the adjudication with regards to one individual can resolve that of the class (FRCP 23(b)(1))
  • The other party opposing the class has refused to act or acted in a way that applies to the class allowing the court to provide relief to the entire class (FRCP 23(b)(1))
  • There is a question of fact or law that is common to the class members (FRCP 23(b)(3))

FRCP 23(c) Certification Order

FRCP 23(c) requires that the court must certify the class action lawsuit as early as practicable when a person sues or is sued as the representative of the class. 

To certify the class-action lawsuit, the court may direct notices to the entire class.

The court will render a judgment where it will:

  • State who are the members of the class (FRCP 23(c)(3)(A))
  • Describe those to whom Rule 23(c)(2) notice was directed to and who have not requested the exclusion that the court finds as class members (FRCP 23(c)(3)(B))

The action may be brought with respect to a specific issue (FRCP 23(c)(4)).

The court may also determine that there is a subclass when appropriate (FRCP 23(c)(5)).

FRCP 23(d) Conducting of Class Action

Once the class action lawsuit is certified, the court:

  • May issue orders to determine the course of the proceedings (FRCP 23(d)(1)(A))
  • To protect class members and fairly conduct the action give appropriate notices to class members (FRCP 23(d)(1)(B))
  • Impose conditions on the representative parties or intervenors (FRCP 23(d)(1)(C))
  • Require pleadings to be amended or eliminate allegations (FRCP 23(d)(1)(D))
  • Deal with procedural matters (FRCP 23(d)(1)(E))

The court can also combine or amend orders (FRCP 23(d)(2)).

FRCP 23(e) Settlement, Voluntary Dismissal or Compromise

Any class action claim, issue or defense can be settled, voluntarily dismissed, or compromised with the court’s approval (FRCP 23(e)).

In this context, the following procedures apply:

  • A notice must be given to the class (FRCP 23(e)(1))
  • The proposal must be approved by the court (FRCP 23(e)(2))
  • The parties must file a statement identifying their agreement with the proposal (FRCP 23(e)(3))
  • If a class action was certified, the court may refuse a settlement unless it provides a new opportunity to request exclusion to individual class members (FRCP 23(e)(4))
  • Class members have the right to object to the proposal (FRCP 23(e)(5))

FRCP 23(f) Appeals

The court of appeal may authorize the appeal from a court order granting or denying the class-action certification (FRCP 23(f)).

This right does not apply to an order under Rule 23(e)(1).

FRCP 23(g) Class Counsel

When the court certifies a class, it must also appoint the class counsel (FRCP 23(g)).

The court will look at aspects such as:

  • The work counsel has done to prepare and investigate the claim (FRCP 23(g)(1)(A)(i))
  • Counsel’s experience in handling class actions and complex litigation (FRCP 23(g)(1)(A)(ii))
  • Counsel’s knowledge in the applicable law (FRCP 23(g)(1)(A)(iii))
  • The counsel’s resources (FRCP 23(g)(1)(A)(iv))

The court can also consider other aspects pertinent to the counsel’s ability to handle the case (FRCP 23(g)(1)(B)).

The court may also include an order for the attorney’s fees or nontaxable costs (FRCP 23(g)(1)(D)) or take make further orders (FRCP 23(g)(1)(E)).

If there are more than one applicant seeking to be class counsel, the court will appoint the one that is the more adequate (FRCP 23(g)(2)).

As it may be necessary, the court may appoint an interim counsel to act on behalf of the putative class before determining whether the action should be certified or not (FRCP 23(g)(3)).

The counsel appointed by the court has a duty to act fairly and adequately represent the interest of the class (FRCP 23(g)(4)).

FRCP 23(h) Attorneys’ Fees

The last element of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is with regards to the attorneys’ fees.

In a certified class-action lawsuit, the court may award reasonable attorneys’ fees and nontaxable costs (FRCP 23(h)).

FRCP Rule 23 Takeaways 

So there you have it folks!

What is Rule 23 FRCP all about?

How does it work?

Essentially, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Section 23 provides for the procedural rules applicable to class-action lawsuits.

Before a class action can be filed, it must meet the class action prerequisites and ultimately be approved by the court.

The class representative and counsel to the class must act fairly and in the best interest of all the class members.

Should there be a class-action settlement, the court must approve the settlement.

A class action can also be voluntarily dismissed or compromised.

Keep in mind that this article is intended to give you general information with regards to FRCP Rule 23 so you know more about it.

If you are looking to file a class-action lawsuit or are required to deal with one, you should consult experienced class-action litigation attorneys who have specific knowledge in class-action lawsuits.

Good luck!

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Understanding FRCP 23

  • FRCP 23 refers to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures Rule 23 titled “Class Actions”
  • This provision provides the procedural rules applicable to class action lawsuits when the federal civil procedural rules apply
  • Any class-action lawsuit must first be certified or approved by the court 
  • When the court approves a class-action lawsuit, it will then certify who are the members of the class, determine the questions of fact or law to be considered, and render other orders under Rule 23
Adjudication meaning 
Amending order 
Arbitration clause 
Attorney’s fees
Certification order
Civil lawsuit
Class action attorney 
Class action lawsuit
Class action settlement 
Class member meaning 
Collective redress 
Nontaxable costs
Public interest litigation 
Question of fact
Question of law
Securities class action 
What is a compromise 
What is a joinder
What is a settlement
What is a subclass
What is voluntary dismissal
Appeal as of right
Change of venue
Commencing an action
Daubert Motion
Default judgment
Deposition by oral examination
Duty to disclose
Extraordinary writs
Injunctive relief 
Instructions to jury
Motion Hour
Permissive joinder of parties
Producing documents
Request for admission
Right to a jury trial
Subpoena ad testificandum
Subpoena duces tecum
Summary judgment
Third party practice

Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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