In Theory of Class Actions, Craig Jones provides a complete and comprehensive defence of the use of the class action for the resolution of mass tort claims. He explodes several popular myths regarding class actions including the notions that they infringe on litigative autonomy, they "blackmail" defendants, they pay too much to lawyers, and they are only effective for numerous, low-value claims. Jones argues that legislatures', and more particularly courts', use of the device has been haphazard, unprincipled, and in large measure ineffective at realizing the principle functions of tort law—reduction of the overall costs of accidents through optimal deterrence and compensation. In response he sets out principles that might be followed by courts or legislatures in assessing the certification of proposed class actions, and in designing procedures to facilitate optimal realization of policy goals.
"This book achieves a new intellectual plateau in our understanding of the nexus between the systems of production and justice. It reorients and advances the agenda for research and the terms of debate on mass tort class actions. ...[Jones's] analysis, findings, and proposals will advance thinking on mass tort class actions worldwide... The book breaks new ground both in substance and methodology."