The Netherlands

On behalf of the team

On 19 May 2021, The Hague District Court rendered an interlocutory judgment in the case of two individual claimants and the Dutch Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Amnesty International and Controle Alt Delete (“CAD“) against the State of the Netherlands.[1] The underlying dispute concerns the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, which, according to the claimants, uses ethnic profiling when drafting risk profiles for the purpose of border control. The claimants claim, inter alia, that the use of risk profiles including ethnicity infringes the non-discrimination principle.

This interlocutory judgment pertains only to the admissibility of the claims and the appointment of the exclusive representative.

CAD was declared not to have a cause of action, because it does not have legal personality. Article 3:305a of the Dutch Civil Code (“DCC“) requires a claim vehicle to be a foundation or association.

With regard to the right of action of the other two organisations, the District Court noted that the claims are not aimed at obtaining compensation. Therefore, the requirements of Article 3:305a(6) DCC have been met. The remaining requirements of Article 3:305a DCC have also been met. The claims, for example, have a sufficiently close connection with the jurisdiction of Dutch courts, because the actions take place on Dutch territory.

Regarding the appointment of an exclusive representative, the District Court deemed Amnesty International to be the most suitable claimant to act as exclusive representative and therefore appointed Amnesty International in that capacity (within the meaning of Article 1019e DCC).

Lastly, with regard to the two individual claimants’ cause of action, they argued, inter alia, that their individual interest lies in questioning whether a fundamental human right to which they are entitled is being respected by the State. Therefore, the District Court found that these claimants had a sufficiently specific individual interest and therefore had a cause of action.

Following this ruling, the parties had to appear in court on 15 June 2021 for a hearing on the merits of the case.