“The Dutch ‘Class Action (Financial Settlement) Act’ (‘WCAM’)
The Dutch ‘Class Action (Financial Settlement) Act [WCAM] came into operation in the
Netherlands on 27 July 2005.
These new rules enable the effective and efficient settlement of
mass damages claims. They provide a facility whereby an agreement which provides for the
settlement of a mass damages claim, and which is concluded between an organisation
championing the interests of those who have sustained a loss and the responsible party or
parties, may be declared binding by the court in relation to the entire group of victims. These
victims can then arrange for payment of their losses by virtue of the agreement. The Dutch
Act appears to have been a success during the brief period of its existence. Virtually all of the
parties – courts, lawyers, interest groups, those who caused the losses in the first place and
academics – are enthusiastic about the Act and the possibilities it offers. Now that the topic of
‘mass damages’ is high on the European agenda, it seems an appropriate time to provide
information to those who might be interested inthe background and contents of the Act, as
well as in the initial experiences of involved parties with respect to the Act. This is all the
more relevant because the Act opts for a collective settlement as the route for resolving mass
damage claims – a unique approach in Europe, but one which seems to explain the success of
the Act… “
Colin Rule is CEO of Mediate.com. From 2017 to 2020 Colin was Vice President for Online Dispute Resolution at Tyler Technologies. Tyler acquired Modria.com, an ODR provider Colin co-founded, in 2017. From 2003 to 2011 Colin was Director of Online Dispute Resolution for eBay and PayPal. Colin co-founded Online Resolution, one of the first online dispute resolution (ODR) providers, in 1999 and served as its CEO and President. Colin worked for several years with the National Institute for Dispute Resolution (now ACR) in Washington, D.C. and the Consensus Building Institute in Cambridge, MA.
Colin is the author of Online Dispute Resolution for Business, published by Jossey-Bass in September 2002, and co-author of The New Handshake: Online Dispute Resolution and the Future of Consumer Protection, published by the ABA in 2017. He received the first Frank Sander Award for Innovation in ADR from the American Bar Association in 2020, and the Mary Parker Follett Award from the Association for Conflict Resolution in 2013. He holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in conflict resolution and technology, a graduate certificate in dispute resolution from UMass-Boston, a B.A. from Haverford College, and he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Eritrea from 1995-1997. You can read many of his articles and see some of his talks at colinrule.com/writing.