According to the civil court, the Dutch State acted unlawfully against two parents who were duped by the benefits affair. The State has not taken sufficient account of the consequences for these parents and is therefore liable for the damage caused to these parents, the court ruled.
The case was brought by a couple from Nijverdal who have no confidence that the government will repay them. They received – just like the other victims – an initial compensation of 30,000 euros in 2020. But like many other families, they are still waiting for further settlement and possible compensation.
The State argued that there was no reason for a civil suit, because the compensation can be obtained through other channels. But the judge in Almelo did not agree.
According to the lawyer for the two, Milan Jans, this is the first time that the State has been held civilly liable for the benefits affair. The Court of Appeal in The Hague previously ruled that the Tax and Customs Administration will not be prosecuted for the affair, but civil cases, in which compensation is discussed, among other things, can continue. Tomorrow a civil case of other benefit parents will be heard in Rotterdam, later cases will also follow in Breda and Assen.
The financial consequences of the ruling in Almelo are still unknown. In an initial response, the Ministry of Finance speaks of “a firm statement”. The department now wants to study the verdict first.
Lawyer Jans speaks of a “pioneering ruling”. Independent Member of Parliament Pieter Omtzigt, who has been involved in the benefits affair for years, also speaks of “a real breakthrough with potentially far-reaching consequences”. He wants to request a debate in which he wants to get clear “where and when the government acted wrongly”.
- Abolition of benefits system: why is it so complicated?
- More time for handling benefit cases, litigation no longer helps