US chamber of commerce warns of risks of Dutch class action system

Statue of justice.

The Netherlands is moving into dangerous territory by rolling out the red carpet for organisations that bring class action suits against international companies, the US Chamber of Commerce has told the Financieele Dagblad.

The organisation’s executive vice president Lisa Rickard told the paper in an interview that class action suits are becoming popular in Europe and a growing number of large American law firms are currently opening offices in the EU. ‘They believe there is money to be made here,’ Rickard told the paper.

The European Commission is expected to present a new proposal for legal rules shortly but Rickard say the Netherlands largely ignores the guarantees against abuses included in previous guidelines, which date from 2013.

‘It is very worrying that the Netherlands is positioning itself as a hub for this type of mass claim and suggesting that the rulings of the Dutch courts also have extra-territorial effect,’ she said. ‘It could prove very harmful for large companies in the country if the Netherlands becomes a magnet for these class actions.’

Rickard said there is fierce competition between London and Amsterdam to attract this type of case and that Brexit will tip the balance in favour of Amsterdam.

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