ADR and Settlement of Mass Claims
Edited by Christopher Hodges and Astrid Stadler
Chapter 4: Collective settlements in the Netherlands: some empirical observations
The Dutch Act on Collective Settlements (WCAM) was introduced in 2005. During the discussions surrounding its introduction, some practitioners expressed the view that the WCAM was going to be a one-day fly. Although it was general in nature, the WCAM was drafted specifically for the resolution of the DES drug case and those practitioners believed that this was such an extraordinary matter that it was unlikely that the same circumstances would be duplicated and the WCAM was going to be used ever again. However, this line of reasoning underestimated the needs of businesses and the creativity of lawyers. The WCAM was still before Parliament when it was announced in the media that Dexia Bank was considering the resolution of the Dexia mass claim matter using the WCAM, which provoked discussions about the scope of the law and the question whether it was intended to apply on disputes related to financial products and services. In the years after the enactment of the WCAM it became clear that the act was anything but a one-day fly. Since its enactment in 2005, six collective settlements have been declared binding and each case was a pioneer in its own way. Dexia demonstrated that the WCAM was applicable also in relation to financial products and services.
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