Bill on collective damages claims | Claim Code 2019
19 March 2019
Dutch Senate adopts bill on collective damages claims
Today, the Dutch Senate adopted the bill on redress of mass damages in a collective action (Wet afwikkeling massaschade in collectieve actie). The Senate passed the bill only seven weeks after it was approved by the House of Representatives on 29 January 2019, because the bill did not give rise to any remarks or debate in the Senate.
With this bill, the options for starting collective actions will be broadened. The bill will allow claim vehicles to seek damages in a collective action. Currently, Dutch collective actions can only be used as a stepping stone towards obtaining financial compensation, usually through a collective settlement agreement. Damages cannot be claimed. The bill also introduces a number of safeguards to prevent abuse of the Dutch collective action system, especially in view of the increasing commercial use of collective actions by claim vehicles. Therefore, the bill adds stricter requirements for the standing of a claim vehicle and the scope of collective actions. Lastly, the bill introduces procedural changes to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of these proceedings, including the appointment of an exclusive representative, the consolidation of collective actions if these actions are based on the same events, and the obligation for the parties to try to negotiate a settlement agreement after an exclusive representative has been appointed.
The bill will enter into force on a date to be announced, probably 1 July 2019. The bill will apply to collective actions brought on or after the date of its entry into force for events that took place on or after 15 November 2016, the date that the bill was submitted to the Dutch parliament. The current regime will apply to actions that relate to events that took place before 15 November 2016.
Click here to read more about the bill.
Claim Code 2019
The Claim Code 2019, an updated and amended version of the original Claim Code 2011, was published in early March. The Claim Code is a code of conduct for foundations and associations ("claim vehicles") that bring collective actions or negotiate collective settlement agreements. The Claim Code 2011 has been recognised by the legislature as a body of soft law that provides guidelines for the courts on how to assess the standing of claim vehicles. In recent years the courts have given increasing weight to the Claim Code 2011 when assessing whether a claim vehicle can be deemed to safeguard the interests it represents. Several of the Claim Code 2011's guidelines are incorporated in the bill on collective damages claims.
The Claim Code 2019 consists of seven comply or explain principles, each with a further explanation of the principle. They deal with the governance of the claim vehicle and third party funding.
Click here to read more about the Claim Code.