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Enforcing international judgments in the Netherlands

Enforcing international judgments in the Netherlands

Navigating the complexities of international litigation and enforcing international judgments in the Netherlands can be daunting, especially when considering the nuances of enforcement in different jurisdictions. For businesses operating in the Netherlands, understanding how to enforce foreign judgments is crucial. At MAAK Attorneys, we pride ourselves on offering expert insights and guidance through every step of the process. Let’s delve into the specifics of how foreign judgments are enforced in the Netherlands.

Key Steps for Enforcing Foreign Judgments

1. The Exequatur Procedure in Holland: An Overview

When a Dutch company is involved in international business, there’s a possibility of encountering a foreign lawsuit. If this leads to a judgment against the company within the Netherlands, it’s essential to know that such foreign rulings aren’t immediately enforceable unless specified by an EU regulation or an international treaty.

When a judgment is not automatically enforceable, the company must initiate what’s known as an exequatur procedure. This procedure ensures the foreign judgment is recognized and enforced within Dutch borders.

2. The Role of the Dutch Judge in Exequatur

During the exequatur process, the Dutch judge, while mostly acknowledging that the case was previously assessed by a foreign court, will assess if the foreign judgment aligns with Dutch public order. As per the European Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgment in Civil and Commercial Matters, this assessment’s primary objective is ensuring the foreign decision isn’t contrary to the Dutch public order.

To move forward with the exequatur, it’s imperative to present an original, authenticated copy of the foreign judgment to the court. In some instances, a translated version might be required, especially if the original judgment is in a language other than Dutch.

3. Understanding the European Enforcement Order (EEO)

An essential aspect of the enforcement landscape is the European Enforcement Order (EEO). This order pertains to judgments passed in any EU member state for an uncontested claim. When a judgment is labeled as an EEO, it gains immediate recognition and enforceability in other member states without the need for intermediate processes.

However, the road to obtaining an EEO certification has its prerequisites. The initial document instituting proceedings (typically the subpoena) must fulfill specific requirements and be accurately served to the debtor.

4. Criteria for EEO Certification

For a judgment to be classified as an EEO, the claim in question needs to be both uncontested and due. Attorneys can request the EEO certification either at the commencement, during, or post the judgment process. In some scenarios, only portions of the judgment might receive EEO certification. This method remains one of the most efficient ways to enforce a foreign judgment across EU member states.

5. European Order for Payment (EOP) Explained

The European Order for Payment (EOP) is a strategic tool for handling cross-border civil and commercial matters. It becomes relevant when one party resides in an EU nation different from the court’s jurisdiction. An exception to this rule is Denmark.

Securing an EOP involves submitting a standardized form at a Dutch court, ensuring the related claim is due when the EOP is requested. Once granted, the defendant has 30 days to contest the order. If unopposed, the EOP is then recognized and enforced across EU nations, bypassing the need for an exequatur.

6. Collecting Small Foreign Debts: The European Small Claims Procedure

For claims under €2,000 (excluding interest), the European Small Claims Procedure offers a streamlined approach. This procedure, which spans across all EU countries (excluding Denmark), aims at simplifying litigation for smaller claims, reducing costs and complexities.

Initiating this process requires filing a standardized form at the competent court. Post submission, the defendant receives a 30-day window to provide a written response. Once a judgment is passed, it gains enforceability across member states without requiring an exequatur.

MAAK Attorneys: Your Trusted Partner in Enforcement

At MAAK Attorneys, we possess a wealth of experience in assisting clients with debt collection and the enforcement of foreign judgments in the Netherlands. Our specialists are dedicated to providing tailored strategies, ensuring efficient resolution. Whether you need advice on enforcing international judgments in the Netherlands or initiating the European small claims procedure, you can confidently lean on our expertise.

For further inquiries or to understand more about international litigation and enforcement within the Netherlands, feel free to reach out to us.

Remko Roosjen

Remko Roosjen

Remko Roosjen is a Dutch contract attorney in the Netherlands and creates close working relationships with clients, providing pragmatic solutions across on all legal matters in the Netherlands. Remko is a partner of our commercial law firm in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. His specialist areas include Dutch contract law, including Dutch commercial contracting and legal disputes, including civil litigation, arbitration and mediation. Remko is a sharp, creative Dutch attorney with extensive cross-border experience representing both foreign plaintiffs and defendants. Visit Remko's profile via the website or via his LinkedIn Profile.