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Liability Law in the Netherlands


Our liability lawyers in the Netherlands hold excellent expertise. We consider all problems that occur when an agreement does not run smoothly as “damage”. When a party fails to act, our Dutch lawyers make an inventory of the remedies that can be applied such as the partial dissolution, destruction, amendment or termination of the agreement. Compensation can also be claimed for loss of profit or damage to an item of property. Together with you, we estimate the damage and choose the form of the claimed compensation (e.g. payment of a sum of money). Our attorneys in the Netherlands have a thorough knowledge of Dutch liability law in the Netherlands and, if the other party does not respond adequately, our Dutch lawyers will bring an action before a civil court. We will then file a claim on your behalf, such as a claim for damages or compliance with the contractual agreements.

Martin Krüger

Remko Roosjen

Jacco Bruinsma

Maud van den Berg


Choice of law in the Netherlands

Choice of law in the Netherlands

Choice of law in private international law means that parties with an international legal relationship are free to choose the law applicable to their contract

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Dutch liability law is a crucial aspect of the Dutch legal system, governing the circumstances under which individuals or entities can be held accountable for harm or damage caused to others. We have an in-depth knowledge of liability law in the Netherlands and its various components, including Dutch tort law, contract law in the Netherlands, and Dutch product liability. Whether you are a legal professional, business owner, or an individual seeking to understand your rights and responsibilities under Dutch law, we would be happy to provide you with valuable insights into the world of liability law in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands follows a civil law system, which is based on written codes and statutes, as opposed to the common law system, which relies on case law and judicial precedent. Dutch law is primarily influenced by the Napoleonic Code and the German Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB), as well as European Union (EU) legislation and international treaties.

Liability law in the Netherlands is primarily governed by the Dutch Civil Code (DCC), which is divided into several books. Book 6 of the DCC deals with obligations and contracts, while Book 7 covers specific contracts.

The key principles of Dutch liability law can be broadly categorised into three main areas: tort law, contract law, and product liability.

Tort Law in the Netherlands

Tort law in the Netherlands, also known as the law of delict, governs situations where an individual or entity causes harm or damage to another party, outside the context of a contractual relationship. In the Netherlands, tort law is primarily regulated by Article 6:162 of the DCC, which establishes the general principle of unlawful act liability.

To establish liability for an unlawful act, the following elements must be proven:

  • Unlawful act: The defendant must have committed an act that is considered unlawful, such as causing harm to another person, violating someone’s rights, or breaching a statutory duty.

  • Fault or negligence: The defendant must have acted with fault or negligence, meaning that a reasonable person in the same situation would have acted differently to prevent the harm or damage.

  • Causation: There must be a causal link between the defendant’s unlawful act and the damage suffered by the claimant.

  • Damage: The claimant must have suffered actual harm or loss as a result of the defendant’s unlawful act.

  • Relativity: The violated norm must aim to protect the claimant against the type of damage suffered.

We recognise that not everything in business flows flawlessly. When mistakes are made, the question arises as to who is liable.  Our Dutch liability lawyers in the Netherlands can advise you on questions such as whether there is insurance and the exact extent of the damage. Liability law is fairly broad and has a contractual and non-contractual component. For example, when does a claim arise from a breach of contract and when do we speak of a tort? Our Dutch law firm in the Netherlands has a strong reputation in the field of professional liability for professional errors (such as errors by accountants, bailiffs, notaries, doctors and lawyers), contractual liabilities in the event of a breach of contract, product liability, producers’ and importers’ liability and insurance issues. Our Dutch lawyers in Amsterdam will be happy to assist you.

If a party commits a wrongful act, which can be attributed to him or her, this party is obliged to compensate the damage suffered by the other party as a result.  This may, for example, be the case when a manufacturer has brought defective products onto the market and damage has occurred in the relationship with the importer/distributor. An important element of the practice of our lawyers is the issue of professional liability. This can also apply when a professional has not exercised the care that may be expected of a reasonably competent and reasonably acting colleague. This duty of care means, among other things, that a professional who advises a client in the context of a decision to be taken by a client on a particular matter enables the client to make an informed decision. Liability for buildings, hazardous substances or liability for subordinates are also recurring themes for our liability lawyers.

Breach of Contract and Liability under Dutch law 

Contract law in the Netherlands governs the rights and obligations of parties involved in a contractual relationship. In the Netherlands, contract law is primarily regulated by Book 6 of the DCC. When a party fails to fulfil their contractual obligations, they are said to be in breach of contract, which can give rise to liability for damages.

To establish liability for breach of contract, the following elements must be proven:

  • Valid contract: A legally binding agreement must exist between the parties, with clearly defined rights and obligations.

  • Breach: One party must have failed to fulfil their contractual obligations, either by not performing the required action or by performing it inadequately.

  • Causation: There must be a causal link between the breach of contract and the damage suffered by the aggrieved party.

  • Damage: The aggrieved party must have suffered actual harm or loss as a result of the breach.

  • Foreseeability: The damage suffered.

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