Under Dutch civil procedural law, third parties claiming to have incurred damages as a result of a cartel (or organisations representing these parties) may start legal proceedings against (alleged) cartelists and ask for a declaratory judgment as to the latter’s liability. This procedure is often an important preliminary step to a settlement which may then be declared generally binding pursuant to proceedings under the Dutch Act on Collective Settlement of Mass Damage Claims (the WCAM).
In addition, the WCAM also provides for a possibility to try to come to a settlement under the supervision of a court before collective damages claim proceedings are initiated. Both the parties claiming damages from (alleged) cartelists and the defendants against such claims may request Dutch courts to hold such pre-procedural appearance. The goal of this provision is to encourage parties to come to a settlement.