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This book analyses aspects of private international law when a collective settlement is concluded for the benefit of foreign interested parties under the 2005 Dutch Collective Settlements Act (WCAM). In essence, the Act provides for collective redress by way of a court approved collective settlement concluded for the benefit of persons to whom damage was allegedly caused. The WCAM is based on an opt-out mechanism; if the collective settlement is declared binding, it binds all persons covered by its terms, except for those who have indicated that they do not wish to be bound by the agreement.
Since the well-known Shell and Converium settlements, among other cases, the WCAM definitively entered the international arena. These settlements were reached in order to obtain relief for interested persons in Europe and beyond who were excluded from US class actions. This need to provide for relief is a major incentive to settle under the WCAM as the Netherlands is, at present, the only EU Member State with the possibility of providing relief by way of a collective settlement which would be complimentary to US settlements or other collective redress proceedings. However, the international application of the WCAM does raise questions from a private international law perspective. This book deals with those questions and analyses various aspects of private international law including international jurisdiction, cross-border notification, recognition, applicable law, and representation of foreign interested parties.
The principal purpose of this publication is to assess the suitability of existing private international law instruments at the national, European and international levels for the application of WCAM in transnational mass damage cases. The Brussels I Regulation 44/2001, the Service Regulation 2007, the Hague Service Convention, and the Rome I and II Regulations are, among other instruments, extensively discussed and explained in the light of the international application of the WCAM. The book also includes several comparative observations in relation to jurisdictions such as the USA and Canada that are familiar with collective actions with opt-out mechanisms.