The Netherlands

On behalf of the team

On 11 June 2022, the District Court of The Hague rendered judgment in proceedings instituted by Vereniging Verticaal Transport against the Dutch State.[1] In this judgment, the District Court emphasised the distinction between a class action and proceedings before the administrative court. According to established case law, in cases in which the legal protection of individual interested parties is assigned to the administrative court, a legal entity merely combining their interests cannot lead to said legal entity having access to the civil court. The same applies if, save for the combined interests, an interest group also stands up for a general interest in the protection of the rights of a larger group of persons that is diffuse and undefined. A collective interest that is derived solely from individual interests that can be represented in administrative proceedings is therefore not eligible for representation in a class action. The interest group is admissible in a class action if (i) the persons it represents do not have recourse to administrative law, including cases in which interested parties cannot be required to take the administrative law route, or in so far as it (ii) stands up for its own interest for which the interest group has no recourse to the administrative court. Vereniging Verticaal Transport was declared admissible for part of the claims. The association explicitly and repeatedly asserted in its summons that the proceedings were not based on a class action and that the claims in the summons should not be considered collective claims either. As a result, the District Court had to assess in each claim whether the association itself has a sufficient interest.

[1] District Court of The Hague 22 juni 2022, ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2022:5894