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Netherlands: Draft General Administrative Law Act Amendment Would Change State Liability for Damages to Individuals

(Mar. 14, 2012) The Lower House of the Dutch Parliament is now considering a draft amendment to the General Administrative Law Act that would change provisions on the liability of the state when unlawful acts by the state cause damage to individuals. (Algemene wet bestuursrecht (June 4, 1992), WETBOEK-ONLINE; Ministry of Justice, General Administrative Law Act (last updated Jan. 2009).) The Wetsvoorstel nadeelcompensatie en schadevergoeding bij onrechtmatige besluiten, or Bill on Compensation for Loss and Damages for Wrongful Acts, was originally introduced in the legislative body on February 2, 2011. (Larisa Gerzova, Netherlands: Bill on Liability of the State for Damages Caused by Its Unlawful Acts, IBFD TAX RESEARCH PLATFORM online subscription database (Mar. 8, 2012).)

The state liability may result from a number of circumstances, such as if tax authorities take an unlawful step that causes damage to a taxpayer. The amendment replaces the current somewhat confusing division of jurisdictions between administrative courts and civil courts with a clear demarcation. It would assign competence to the administrative courts for cases of damage resulting from acts over which either the tax department of the Supreme Court or the Central Board of Appeal has final jurisdiction. Administrative courts would also handle all other cases when the amount of the damage is less than €25,000 (about US$33,000). Civil courts could handle all other cases. (Id.)

The procedure to be followed by those filing claims for damages with the administrative courts would be simplified under the amended legislation. In addition, the revisions establish that claims for compensation would have to be filed within five years of the date on which a damaging state act is finally annulled or the date on which state officials acknowledge that a government act was illegal. In addition, the claim must be filed no more than 20 years following the original state act that caused the damage. (Id.)