al securities class action complaints were filed against
Swiss reinsurance company Converium Holding AG. The
Amsterdam Court of Appeal accepted jurisdiction to
declare a settlement binding, even though the dispute
had little or no connection with the Netherlands.
‘Converium sends a message that the Amsterdam
Court of Appeals is prepared to facilitate settlements in
international mass damage cases, irrespective of there
being any relevant link with our jurisdiction,’ says van
Maanen. ‘It is important to see that this option may not
just suit plaintiffs, but also those defendants that prefer
mass settlement over protracted litigation.’
The lucrative implications of this development have
not gone unnoticed and already both firms and funders
are lining up to take advantage of Amsterdam’s potential
as a mass action center.
Savvy lawyers are already looking at ways of repackaging
existing European law to provide access to the kind of
group lawsuits seen in US markets.
Stibbe is a leading Benelux firm, with offices in the
Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg as well as New
York, London and Dubai. The firm is well-placed to comment on international litigation trends.
‘People are starting to recognise the commercial
potential of using litigation vehicles, particularly in the
Netherlands, Germany and Belgium,’ says Jeroen
Kortmann, litigation partner and co-head of Stibbe’s
antitrust litigation group. ‘Lawyers and other entrepre-
neurs see that money can be made by collecting claims.
Recent examples show that they have been successful in
persuading individual claimants to bundle their claims
and jointly instruct a law firm to litigate for them.’
The practice of ‘bundling up’ claims has become a
common practice in the Netherlands and it is a more
straightforward process than it sounds.
Boekel De Nerée is a full service Dutch firm that has
seen a particular increase in consumer litigation claims in
recent years. ‘There are all sorts of legal ways to bundle
joint efforts together,’ says Lisette Bieleveld, head of the
dispute resolution team at Boekel. ‘It’s very easy to start a