On 29 January 2019, the Dutch House of Representatives approved the legislative proposal that introduces collective actions for damages under article 3:305a of the Dutch Civil Code (DCC). This proposal aims to amend article 3:305a DCC to enable collective actions for damages on an 'opt-out' basis.
The legislative proposal allows for such claims provided that the requirements of article 3:305a DCC are met. If a claim is successful, the judge determines the amount of damages in one go, so that the case can be dealt with for a large group of class members at the same time. Not every claim organization can file a collective claim for damages. The legislative proposal includes conditions regarding the organization and funding of organizations that wish to initiate a collective action.
The House of Representatives approved several amendments to an earlier version of the legislative proposal. These amendments aimed to introduce a requirement that mass damages claims should be closely connected to the Dutch jurisdiction, the possibility to order a claimant to pay additional costs to the other party in the case of an ill-founded claim, stricter admissibility requirements for (very) small claims and claims with an idealistic purpose and an improvement of the transitional provisions of the legislative proposal.
The amendment relating to the transitional provisions of the legislative proposal ensures that collective actions for damages will only be admissible if they relate to "events" that occurred on or after 15 November 2016 (the day the draft proposal was submitted to the House of Representatives). An amendment that would have made it possible for a court in some cases to order that class members must opt-in before they could become bound to a collective action judgment or settlement was rejected.
The Senate will now discuss the bill. Once the bill is approved by the Senate, the date of entry into force will be announced.
For more detailed information about the legislative proposal see the previously published Overview of Legislative Proposal on Collective Action (NL) by Jeroen Kortmann.