New law as of 1 January 2020: collective action for compensation of large-scale damage

Private citizens and businesses that suffer large-scale damage, for example because of vehicles that have been tampered with, will be able to take collective action for compensation as of 1 January 2020, when an act establishing the right to take collective action against large-scale damage drafted by Sander Dekker, the Minister for Legal Protection, will come into force. Dekker: 'If you are in dire straits, it is comforting to know that you can join up with others to go to court and sue for compensation. This saves time and money and prevents never-ending strings of individual court cases.'
 

Private citizens and businesses that suffer large-scale damage, for example because of vehicles that have been tampered with, will be able to take collective action for compensation as of 1 January 2020, when an act establishing the right to take collective action against large-scale damage drafted by Sander Dekker, the Minister for Legal Protection, will come into force. Dekker: 'If you are in dire straits, it is comforting to know that you can join up with others to go to court and sue for compensation. This saves time and money and prevents never-ending strings of individual court cases.'
 
Currently, it is not possible to enforce the payment of compensation through collective action. Claimants are restricted to obtaining a legal opinion, for instance to the effect that a business has acted unlawfully. It is then up to individual parties to sue for compensation.
 
In practice, this is easier said than done. Sometimes a separate procedure is so expensive that it is cheaper for the victims to pay for the damage themselves. At the moment, an interest group or other such party can help arrange a settlement to reimburse groups of victims, but if the party responsible for the damage does not cooperate, the victims can still end up empty-handed. This is about to change.
 
Soon, it will be possible to settle the entire case via a single collective action, which is much simpler, saves time and money and ensures that the situation is immediately clear for the parties involved. This will allow cases to be settled much more effectively and saves a huge amount of hassle for a lot of people. It will also put an end to never-ending strings of lawsuits.
 
Another issue is that some types of damage have been taken up as a cause by a multitude of interest groups, whose costs and funding are often unclear. In such cases, neither the victims nor the party against whom the action is brought know which organisations are reliable and who they represent. The new act provides victims with ample legal protection. Not all interest groups can go ahead and sue for compensation: their organisation and finances have to be properly in order. This act means that victims will know exactly who they are placing their trust in.
 
Interest groups may already exist, such as the Consumers' Association or the Association of Stockholders, or have been set up especially (ad-hoc) for a type of collective claim (such as the Foundation against Profiteering Policies). They will be able to initiate proceedings in the name of their backers.
 
Finally, there will be a central register for collective claims, which will allow victims and the interest groups that represent them to decide if they want to submit a collective claim for the same situation. The Council for the Judiciary will maintain the register and it will be public, so that everyone can consult it.