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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 4, 2017

Are We Really Helping Them? – The Needs of Tort Victims in Mass Litigation Environments

Karlijn van Doorn and Charles Dybus


In the area of mass litigation, little is known about the needs of the individual victim and to what extent these needs are satisfied through the system of collective redress. Are we really helping tort victims through procedures of mass litigation? In response to this question we conducted two studies that focused on the needs of the individual victim in mass litigation contexts. The main results and valuable insights from these studies are presented and compared in this article. We conclude that although the damages have derived from vastly different origins, it is remarkable that some of the needs are rather comparable. Money is not the only need of victims. Sometimes it is not even the primary reason for victims to litigate. Both groups of victims express the need for recognition, taking responsibility, prevention, and information. Moreover, we have found that these victims experience feelings of solidarity, have altruistic needs in multiple forms, and could experience an overwhelming feeling of empowerment in joining a mass litigation process.


Both authors are registered for PhDs at Tilburg Law School, Tilburg University. Van Doorn is writing her PhD about the needs of victims of mass harm. The empirical study of the DSB case is part of her PhD research. Dybus’s research has an empirical nature and focuses on the needs of investors that have joined claims within the European Collective Redress System.

Published Online: 2017-5-4
Published in Print: 2017-5-1

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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