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As an introduction to group actions and the role of the courts, the author of this text first examines the functions of civil procedure, looking at the relationship between procedural and substantive law, between form and substance. Substantive law presupposes access to justice which in turn presupposes access to the court. Specifically, with respect to group claims, it is observed that although the traditional, individualistic, two-party civil procedure predominates, it is not the perfect tool for handling the full range of conflicts in a modern society.;The author illustrates the possible introduction of class actions in Europe with a summary of the proposal of the Swedish Commission on Group Actions for which he acted as Special Commissioner.