Netherlands leads the way

Author: | Published: 1 Oct 2007

The Dutch Collective Settlements Act, which was enacted on August 1 2005, has resulted in two court-approved collective settlements and a third one is on its way: the Royal Dutch Shell reserves re-categorization settlement was submitted for court approval on April 11 2007. The new rules were originally intended to apply only to the resolution of mass exposure and mass-disaster personal injury claims. This was true of the first collective settlement under the Act (DES), but not the second: the Dexia settlement relating to retail investment products, approved in January 2007. The Shell settlement is also a potential groundbreaker: it aims at achieving a worldwide settlement of a securities action with the exception of only US shareholders.

The globalization of class actions has attracted much attention. To give a few examples, an American Bar Association meeting in Rome last May entitle Class actions at the cross roads: Europe's choice between...