Resolving disputes under Dutch law

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Disputes in the Netherlands

Nobody wants business disputes, in the Netherlands or elsewhere in the world. Nevertheless, not every collaboration is ideal and business disputes are sometimes unavoidable. For example, you may be disappointed by the performance of your other contracting party or you may be dissatisfied with the products or services provided.

Conversely, your contracting party may also assert that they have a claim against you, with which you profoundly disagree. For example, the contract may have been misinterpreted and/or the parties may mutually have had different intentions at the time of concluding the contract.

Even without a contract, damages can occur, such as when a party harms you without your ever having met them before, or when there is not yet a contract. A classic example of this would be when someone is hit by a car. Liability can also arise when negotiations break down prematurely or, conversely, when a business agreement abruptly breaks down. To cut a long story short, when a business dispute arises the ramifications are endless.

Types of civil court proceedings in the Netherlands

You can go to the Dutch civil courts for different types of civil proceeding. These include the summons procedure (also known as the claim procedure, or proceedings on the merits); the application procedure (for example, requesting leave to file a prejudgment attachment); and the civil emergency procedure (also known as summary proceedings).

Our lawyers in the Netherlands have a wealth of experience in assisting parties in all types of Dutch civil court proceeding. Depending on the case, we will work with you to determine which procedure to follow. If, in addition, we have to defend your interests, our lawyers can of course undertake this for you in all types of civil court proceeding.

What does a lawsuit in the Netherlands cost?

The cost of a lawsuit in the Netherlands depends on the type of proceeding, the complexity of the lawsuit and the extent of the business dispute in the Netherlands, or under Dutch law. What is certain is that there will be a number of fixed costs, such as lawyer's fees, the cost of having your case heard by the civil court (we call these court fees) and also the cost of using an interpreter or, for example, a tax consultant, where necessary. Other potential costs include those of a bailiff (for example, if you require a summons to be served).

At the same time, it is important to take litigation risk into account. After all, you may (partly) win or (partly) lose a lawsuit. If you win a case, the other party may have to pay part of your costs and may be ordered to do so. Conversely, you may lose a case and yourself be obliged to pay costs to the other party. The main rule is that, in most cases, the opposing party does not have to pay all costs if you win, and vice versa. Please note that each case is individual, however. Circumstances may arise in which all these costs are due, for example in personal injury cases, intellectual property cases or when general terms and conditions apply and an actual procedural cost reimbursement has been agreed. However, reasonableness and fairness still have an additional or remedial role to play.

Regardless of the stage of your legal dispute, we strongly recommend you immediately engage the services of an experienced lawyer. Discovering too late where you stand legally, or what tools are available to you to get your case progressed as advantageously as possible, is nothing but a missed opportunity.

Bringing or defending proceedings in the Netherlands

Our lawyers are specialists in their fields. They support parties who want to start a case as well as parties facing a claim. In addition, you may be involved in a lawsuit for a number of other reasons. For example, you may be a witness or have an interest in the case yourself. In such instances, it is strongly recommended that you raise the alarm in good time and engage a specialist to look after your interests. How and when to complain or put up a defence is also part of the conversation we recommend you hold with your litigator.

Summary proceedings in the Netherlands

Summary proceedings are a special (emergency) procedure in civil law. As opposed to normal regular proceedings, after going through summary proceedings you will know fairly quickly where you stand. In preliminary relief proceedings, the weighing of interests between the parties plays an important role and you can request injunctive relief to stop certain (unlawful) conduct. Examples include the prevention of a publication or the requirement to undo the termination of a commercial agreement.

Summary proceedings also lend themselves to other cases which would otherwise be irreversible. The felling of a rare tree is one example. Of course, it is possible to be faced with summary proceedings when the claim may not be justified at all, or has no urgency. A litigation lawyer is then ideally placed to advise you and can act on your behalf in court.

Dispute lawyer under Dutch law

Dutch lawyer

Remko Roosjen is an English speaking attorney-at-law in the Netherlands, specialised in Dutch contract law.

A major part of his work as a lawyer involves advising and litigating on commercial contracts under Dutch law. Remko acts on behalf of suppliers, manufacturers, importers, distributors, resellers and internationally operating trading parties.

As civil litigation attorney and contract lawyer in the Netherlands, Remko represents a wide range of both plaintiffs and defendants.

Remko Roosjen, Lawyer in the Netherlands


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