On January 29th, 2019, a bill introducing a collective damages action on an opt-out basis for persons domiciled in the Netherlands was adopted by the lower house of Dutch Parliament. The bill will now be submitted to the upper house for approval. If approved, the bill may come in to force and effect on July 1st, 2019 at the earliest. However, this would require a rather swift approval process and January 1st, 2020, seems to be the more likely effective date.
Under the current collective litigation regime, no monetary damages can be sought on a collective basis. The essence of the bill is that this restriction will be removed, so that a group action for monetary damages is possible. At the same time, the bar is raised for collective claims in order to achieve a fair and balanced system, which provides a higher level of finality for defendants. Under the new regime, finality is also increased by making a court ruling awarding or denying the collective relief sought binding on the individual members of the group, whereas under the current regime, there is no such binding effect.
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