The Netherlands

On behalf of the team

On the 19 April 2022 the Court of Appeal of The Hague dismissed the appeal brought by Stichting Viruswaarheid and the Nederlandse Vereniging Kritisch Prikken (“NVKP”) against the judgement by the District Court of the Hague in first instance.[1] In 2021, the two organizations started a class action in summary proceedings against the Dutch State in which they motioned for the immediate reversal of the market approvals of multiple COVID-19 vaccines, as well as a revision of the advice issued by the government to get vaccinated. The District Court signaled that there were issues with each of the claims but ultimately dismissed the claims on the grounds that preliminary relief proceedings were not appropriate for the complexity of the questions they raised.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the District Court on that ground, and also added additional grounds for dismissal. According to the Court of Appeal, both organizations have not sufficiently showed that they met the requirements to act on behalf of their constituency in a representative action. The court ruled that Stichting Viruswaarheid insufficiently substantiated the claim that they represented a group of people with similar interests, since the organization handed over little to no information about who they were representing. As for the NVKP the court ruled that their mission statement to ensure “informed consent” when it comes to vaccinations does not extend to a motion to stop vaccinations all together. The court also ruled that regardless of whether the organizations were able to represent their constituents in bringing these claims, their claims went far beyond impacting only their constituents. According to the court the organizations have no legitimate interest in reversing the approval of all COVID-19 vaccines, which would affect everyone in the Netherlands.

[1] The Hague Court of Appeal 19 April 2022, ECLI:NL:GHDHA:2022:643