Class actions and arbitration: Alternative approaches based on the (ever evolving) Dutch experiences with collective redress

Bas van Zelst*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This article first aims to contribute to an understanding of the Dutch regime for collective redress against the background of pending discussions on the possibility, desirability, and practicability of the settlement of mass claims by means of arbitration. Secondly, it assesses to what extent arbitration may play a part in the Dutch context. The article proceeds in two sections. After the introduction, section 2 analyses the Dutch collective redress regime. It is concluded that Dutch law does not allow for class action arbitration. This, however, does not mean that arbitration cannot play a part under Dutch law in the context of collective redress. It is submitted in section 3 that Dutch law provides for two options. First, an arbitral tribunal may be engaged to assess whether a collective claim at law exists. This mechanism allows collective claim vehicles and (purported) wrongdoers to assess their position at law in the realm of a confidential arbitration. In this context arbitrators serve as facilitators to a collective settlement that is subsequently brought before the court in order to be declared binding. Secondly, disputes over rights of individual claimants under a settlement agreement that has been declared binding may be settled in arbitration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-223
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of International Arbitration
Volume35
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

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