Netherlands

A number of recent developments risk turning the Netherlands into a global litigation hub. These include the rise of third-party litigation financing (TPLF) and its use in collective redress actions, as well as efforts to allow class actions with damages. In addition, two rulings of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal have asserted the court’s jurisdiction over transnational class actions – even if the claimants, defendants and claims have little or no connection to the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is already one of the few countries in Europe with an opt-out system in which prior consent is not required from injured parties to join a collective action. This is the “WCAM” procedure, whereby the Amsterdam Court of Appeal can approve a settlement negotiated between a company and an association or private "claims foundation" representing a class of persons and declare it binding for the entire class.

However, serious consideration is being given to expanding this system to include court-based opt-out collective actions that are not required to result in settlements. In fact, the Dutch Ministry of Justice introduced a plaintiff-friendly class action proposal in 2014, which it is continuing to review.