"Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands has allowed “opt-out” (meaning, everyone is automatically a member of the class unless they write to the Amsterdam Court of Appeals to ask to be excluded) class action settlements since August 1, 2005. Several large cases have already settled. In one large settlement, a worldwide class of investors (including everyone except Americans) who owned Royal Dutch Shell stock and suffered damages as the result of misrepresentations made by Shell in relation to the size of its oil reserves recovered $352,600,000 in compensation from Shell. The class included claimants from the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Germany, and other nations. Because of the immense size of these settlements and the global scope of the classes, Mr. Gaudet has called the Dutch class action the “most powerful mechanism in Europe” for the resolution of collective claims. The Dutch Minister of Justice quoted this same phrase from Mr. Gaudet’s LLM thesis in a speech that the Minister gave at a conference at Tilburg University in Holland in November 2008.