Part 1 of “Class action in the Netherlands: how does the procedure work?”

16 Feb '23

Author(s): Suzanne Poutsma and Bine Schoenmaker

As of 1 January 2020, with the entry into force of the Act on Settlement of Mass Damages in Collective Action (Wet afwikkeling massaschade in collectieve actie: “WAMCA”), it is possible for an interest organization, in addition to a declaratory judgment, to file a collective claim for damages. This is potentially a powerful weapon for interest organizations. How does filing a class action proceed in the Netherlands? In this blog series, we will provide an overview of the course of the proceedings. Today part 1: filing a class action.

A claim organization

The filing of a claim under the WAMCA often begins with the establishment of a foundation (stichting) or association (vereniging) whose purpose is to represent the infringed interests. The law imposes several requirements that such a foundation or association must meet. These include requirements regarding the claim organization's governance, financial resources and transparency of certain information. This is also known as the representativeness requirement.

Next, it is important that the claim organization meets the legal admissibility requirements. For example, there must be no direct profit motive. In addition, there must be a sufficiently close connection with the Dutch legal sphere. Finally, there is a consultation obligation for the claim organization. This means that a claim organization is only admissible in its claims when the organization has tried to reach a solution with the defendant through consultation.

Summons and registration

Two weeks after the request for consultation has taken place, the claim organization may proceed to summon. The summons must meet special requirements, in addition to the usual requirements. One important requirement is to register the summons in the central register for collective actions. You can consult this register here: Centraal register voor collectieve vorderingen | Rechtspraak.

Subsequently, a three-month waiting period is given. During this period, other interest organizations may also file a legal claim in the same proceeding. If several claim organizations come forward, the court will appoint one as the exclusive advocate. In deciding, the court will take into account what the constituency is and what activities the organizations perform.

The further proceedings

Curious about the further course of the proceedings? Follow us on LinkedIn and do not miss our blogs.

This blog is part of a blog series on the WAMCA (Act on Settlement of Mass Damages in Collective Action). Interested in learning more about mass claims in the Netherlands? Please contact us at s.poutsma@ploum.nl or b.schoenmaker@ploum.nl.

Read more: Part 2 of “Class action in the Netherlands: how does the procedure work?”

Contact

Attorney at law

Suzanne Poutsma

Expertises:  Litigation, Arbitration, Contract law, IT-Law, Technology, Media and Telecom, Commercial Contracts, Litigation funding ,

Attorney at law

Bine Schoenmaker

Expertises:  IT-Law, Privacy law, Contract law, Technology, Media and Telecom, Commercial Contracts,

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