‘Shadow of the Law’ or ‘Shadow of the Settlement’: Experiences with the Dutch Act on Collective Settlement of Mass Damage (WCAM)

  • Annie de Roo
  • Rob JagtenbergEmail author
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 70)


Public and private justice may not be such mutually exclusive concepts as commonly viewed. Public court judgments may co-determine private settlements, but also conversely, private settlements may co-determine court judgments. The latter phenomenon can be found particularly in mass disputes leading to collective settlements that receive broad media coverage. This contribution analyses the practice in the Netherlands, where such collective settlements can even be endorsed by the courts under the Act on Collective Settlement of Mass Damage, or the WCAM Act. Individual parties that decline such a settlement and prefer to pursue their case in court may nevertheless be confronted with such a private settlement to which they themselves are not a party. The contribution rounds off with a non-exhaustive stocktaking of salient pros and cons of negotiated settlement and law enforcement, respectively.


  1. de Palo G, Canessa R (2014) The EU parliament study ‘Rebooting the Mediation Directive’: an overview of its key findings and a response to its critics. Neth Flemish Mediat Confl Manage Q 18:3641Google Scholar
  2. Fiss OM (1983/1984) Against settlement. Yale Law J 93:1073–1090Google Scholar
  3. Huls NJH, Van Doorn CJM (2007) De constructie van een massaclaim – een rechtssociologische analyse van de eerste fase van de Dexia-affaire. Rechtsgeleerd Magazijn Themis 2:58Google Scholar
  4. Jagtenberg R (2014) Mediation: a desirable case management tool for the courts? In: Van Rhee CH, Fu Y (eds) Civil litigation in China and Europe. Springer, Dordrecht, p 282Google Scholar
  5. Jagtenberg R, de Roo A (2011) Frame for a Dutch portrait on mediation court connected mediation in the Netherlands. The Judiciary Q. Council for the Judiciary, The Hague, pp 7–23Google Scholar
  6. Jagtenberg R, Voet S (2015) When it takes thousands to tango. Neth Flemish Mediat Confl Manage Q 19:6–32Google Scholar
  7. Manning B (1977) Hyperlexis, our national disease. Northwestern Law Rev 71:n6Google Scholar
  8. Mnookin RRH, Kornhauser L (1978/1979) Bargaining in the shadow of the law. Yale Law J 88:950–997Google Scholar
  9. Silvestri E, Jagtenberg R (2013) Juggling a red hot potato—Italy, the EU and mandatory mediation. Neth Flemish Mediat Confl Manage Q 17:7–19Google Scholar
  10. Van Boom WH, Lindenbergh SD (2010) Effectenlease: dwaling, zorgplicht en schadevergoeding. Ars Aequi, 188 ffGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Erasmus School of LawRotterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations