If you have lost a civil case in the Netherlands, or if you are not satisfied with the judgment delivered by the court aty first instance, you can appeal that judgment (hoger beroep). Our team of Dutch lawyers in the Netherlands has expertise in appeal cases in the Netherlands and gladly advises you about the possibilities, terms, and conditions for appeal under Dutch law. This article briefly sets out the key points of civil appeal proceedings in the Netherlands.
APPEALing a FIRST INSTANCE JUDGMENT in the Netherlands
As a rule, first-instance judgments can be appealed. The appeal must be brought to the competent Court of Appeal (Gerechtshof) within 3 months after delivery of the judgment in first instance. In the case of a provisional judgment, such as in the case of proceedings for interim measures, a 4-week time limit applies. Note, however, that appeals can be dismissed if the amount in dispute is less than EUR 1,750. Appealing a first instance judgment in the Netherlands is possible for both parties. If both parties decide to appeal a judgment, the appeal filed first is called principaal appel, the subsequent appeal is called incidenteel hoger beroep or incidenteel appel.
SCOPE OF APPEAL PROCEDURES UNDER DUTCH LAW
The scope of the appeal proceedings is determined by the grounds of appeal (grieven) filed by the appellant. This means that if the appellant’s appeal concerns all aspects of the first instance judgment, all matters will be reviewed in the appeal proceedings. The opposing party is offered the opportunity to file his or her statement. The parties can present their objections in an oral hearing, after which the Court of Appeal renders its judgment. In reaching its decision, the Court of Appeal must consider all arguments raised at first instance as well as the points raised by both parties in appeal. In other words, in the Netherlands, like a district court, a Court of Appeal decides on the facts and circumstances, which allows a procedure to be – entirely or partially – redone.
SETTLEMENT OR MEDIATION IN AN APPEAL PROCEDURE
The appeal procedure is like a procedure at first instance. Nevertheless, to a larger extent than a district court, a Court of Appeal examines whether an alternative form of dispute settlement is feasible before it delivers a judgment. Even, a Court of Appeal can encourage parties to engage in mediation or to negotiate a settlement. The Court of Appeal can give a provisional ruling in which it gives its ideas about the case. With these ideas in mind, parties can enter negotiations. For the purpose of negotiating a settlement, parties can request the Court of Appeal to adjourn the oral hearing. If parties manage to reach an agreement on the settlement without the intervention of the court, the settlement agreement is drawn up in a record (proces-verbaal) and confirmed by the Court of Appeal. Once confirmed, the settlement agreement becomes binding to both parties.
If parties do not manage to arrive to a settlement without the intervention of the court, they have the option to engage in mediation, which is a more holistic approach of the conflict in comparison to court proceedings which focus particularly on the legal aspects of the case. With the assistance of a mediator, parties can arrive to a comprehensive solution for all aspects of the case. For that reason, Courts of Appeal, if they think a case and the parties’ attitude is suited for mediation, encourage parties to engage in mediation. In the event that an alternative form of conflict resolution does not work out or appears impossible, the parties can request their closing arguments after submitting a written statement. Subsequently, the Court of Appeal decides whether to give a provisional or a
final judgment. If the final judgment overturns the judgment in first instance, the Court of Appeal must settle the dispute itself.
APPEAL at the dutch supreme court
A judgment of a Court of Appeal – and sometimes that of a district court or even subdistrict court – can be appealed at the Supreme Court of the Netherlands (Hoge Raad). Such an appeal must be lodged within 3 months after the contested judgment was delivered.
It is important to note that the Supreme Court does not decide on the facts and circumstances of the case, but only assesses whether the court that delivered the contested judgment has correctly applied the applicable laws and the applicable procedural rules. In other words, the Dutch Supreme Court is bound by the facts and circumstances established by the previous instance, and reviews judgments in previous instance only on points of law – both substantial and procedural law.
LAWYER SPECIALIzING IN APPEAL PROCEEDINGS in the Netherlands
Would you like to obtain advice from a lawyer specializing in appeal proceedings in the Netherlands? Or do you have another request concerning litigation in the Netherlands? Please contact Remko Roosjen or one of our other Dutch lawyers in Amsterdam. We will be happy to advise you.