On March 19, 2019, the Dutch Senate has unanimously voted in favour of the legislative proposal to amend the laws on Dutch collective actions and collective settlements.
Whereas Dutch law did not provide for class actions in the traditional sense, the courts hearing collective actions will (as of the entry into force of the new law) – among other things – be able to actually award monetary compensation of damages suffered by large groups of victims as a result of a single event. Until the moment the new law enters into force, a claim for monetary damages in collective actions is explicitly prohibited by Dutch law.
In outline, the new law (among other things)
- Seeks to increase the appetite for collective settlements in the Netherlands, by ensuring that each the quality of collective representatives, coordination of collective proceedings and the final nature of the decisions rendered are improved.
- Provides for one regime for collective actions, whether these seek to obtain monetary compensation or not.
- Provides for an increased threshold for interest groups to be admissible to submit a collective claim, by applying stricter requirements as to governance, financing and standing.
- Prescribes that a collective claim should have a sufficient close connection to Dutch jurisdiction.
- Deals with the scenario in which multiple interest groups start collective actions in relation to the same event.
- Includes an opt-out mechanism for victims of the event that is the subject matter of the collective action.
The law will enter into force at a moment determined by Royal Decree.
Notes for editors:
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