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Filing a claim with the Dutch court

Filing a claim with the Dutch court

In the Netherlands, filing a claim with the Dutch court involves a meticulous legal process, ensuring transparent and efficient proceedings. Initiating with gathering essential documents to drafting a detailed summons, the Dutch judicial system is renowned for its robust framework. Understand the complete guide and expert tips to successfully navigate this process.

Before delving into the procedure of filing a claim with the Dutch court, it’s essential to grasp the foundation of the Dutch judicial system. The Netherlands boasts a transparent and efficient legal framework, and understanding its core can significantly ease the process of filing claims. When a dispute or disagreement arises between individuals or organizations, the situation can become stressful. Understanding the nuances of the legal system in the Netherlands and how to initiate a legal proceeding is crucial. Before initiating the process of filing a claim with the Dutch court, thorough documentation is crucial. Ensure you have all relevant contracts, communication records, evidence, and any other pertinent documents that can bolster your case. Here, we delve into the steps, processes, and intricacies of filing a claim in with the Dutch court.

Engaging in Civil Litigation in the Netherlands

Whenever there is a dispute between you and another individual or organization in the Netherlands which is governed by Dutch law — whether it concerns financial matters, nuisances, or any other issues — such cases usually fall under Dutch civil litigation. If mutual resolution seems out of reach, you can seek the court’s intervention for judgment in the Netherlands.

Types of Legal Procedures in the Netherlands

1. Summary Proceedings in the Netherlands (Kort Geding)

Should the matter be of urgent nature, a summary proceeding in the Netherlands or kort geding is an option. In these civil proceedings in the Netherlands, the judge provides a swift and interim decision.

For instance:

  • You can request the payment of overdue wages.
  • Seek prohibition against the publication of a specific book or content.

It’s essential to understand that the judge’s decision in such cases remains valid only until there’s a final verdict from another case. Neither party can consider this decision as the final say. Parties involved can subsequently pursue a more detailed litigation process (dagvaardingsprocedure).

2. Ordinary Litigation in Holland (Dagvaardingsprocedure)

The dagvaardingsprocedure is a thorough, extensive procedure that you can undertake to resolve your conflict. This procedure provides a platform to address and reach a resolution in more intricate cases.

Which Dutch Court Should You Approach?

The type of issue and the amount in contention will dictate whether the case goes before the kantonrechter (local court) or the civiele rechter (civil court).

Kantonrechter (Local Court in the Netherlands)

The kantonrechter deals with:

  • Claims up to €25,000.
  • Matters concerning labor, rent, consumer purchases, and consumer credit irrespective of the amount.

For cases at this level:

  • The plaintiff is not required to hire an attorney, though it’s an option.
  • Only the plaintiff pays a court fee, which is comparatively lower than in the civil court.

Civiele Rechter (Civil Court in the Netherlands)

The civiele rechter presides over:

  • Cases involving amounts exceeding €25,000.
  • Matters that can’t be represented in monetary terms, such as the presence or absence of an agreement or issues like noise disturbances.

For these cases:

  • The plaintiff must engage an attorney.
  • Both the plaintiff and the defendant are obliged to pay a court fee, which is notably higher than the local court’s fees.

An Overview of a Dutch Civil Lawsuit

Each lawsuit in the Netherlands takes its unique path, but the general process includes:

  1. Commencement: The lawsuit in the Netherlands starts with the issuance of a summons (dagvaarding). Once the summons is drafted, it must be officially served to the defendant. This service ensures that the defendant is formally notified of the impending case, giving them an opportunity to prepare their defense.
  2. Submission to the Dutch court: Following the service, the claim, accompanied by all supporting documents, is submitted to the relevant Dutch court. This is the formal step in filing a claim with the Dutch court, marking the beginning of the legal proceedings.
  3. Response: The opposing party can present their side.
  4. Judge’s Deliberation: The judge then examines the case and the evidence presented.
  5. Resolution: After all arguments are heard, the court will deliver its judgment. Whether the outcome is in your favor or requires an appeal, MAAK Advocaten will guide you through the subsequent steps, ensuring your interests remain paramount.

Things to Consider

Mediation under Dutch law

In certain situations, mediation—a process involving a neutral third-party mediator—may be more advantageous, faster, and cost-effective than pursuing legal action.

Preparing for the Dutch court Hearing

It’s rare for individuals to be in court frequently. Hence, understanding the court’s expectations and adequately preparing for the hearing is paramount.

The Role of a Dutch Judge

A judge’s responsibility isn’t solely limited to interpreting the law. They also weigh the interests of the parties involved, ensuring fairness and impartiality.

Seeking Legal Advice in the Netherlands

Even when a litigation attorney in the Netherlands isn’t mandatory, it’s often wise to seek legal counsel. This advice can come in various forms and from different sources.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the intricacies of the legal world can be daunting. However, with the right information, you can navigate these waters with confidence. Remember, every situation is unique, and it’s essential to approach each case with an open mind and proper preparation.

Filing a claim with the Dutch court?

Our seasoned professionals will evaluate the strength of your case, advise on the best legal strategy, and guide you on the specifics of filing a claim with the Dutch court. This consultation ensures that you’re well-prepared and informed at every step. At MAAK Advocaten, we pride ourselves on offering in-depth knowledge and experience in navigating this system. Our expertise ensures that when we represent you in filing a claim with the Dutch court, your case is handled with the utmost precision and professionalism.


Remko Roosjen

Remko is a commercial law 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 co-founder of our Dutch Law Firm in Amsterdam. His specialist areas include (international) Commercial Disputes & Contracts, including civil litigation, arbitration and mediation. Remko is a sharp, creative attorney with extensive experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants. Visit Remko's profile via the website or via his LinkedIn Profile.