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Litigation in the Netherlands

Litigation in the Netherlands

Litigation in civil proceedings in the Netherlands

As a business owner or individual, legal disputes and litigation are bound to arise. It can be overwhelming to navigate the legal system of a foreign country, especially when it comes to the complex procedures and regulations of litigation in the Netherlands. At our Dutch law firm, we pride ourselves on offering expertise in a number of practice areas, including litigation in Holland. With international commerce reaching new heights and the Netherlands being a pivotal gateway to Europe, understanding the intricacies of Dutch Civil Law becomes paramount for businesses and individuals alike. At our litigation office in Amsterdam, we gladly offer our legal services in the Netherlands to help you understand everything you need to know about litigation in civil proceedings in the Netherlands. In direct need of legal assistance in the Netherlands? Our team of experienced Dutch litigation lawyers in the Netherlands would be happy to help you.

Remko Roosjen

Martin Krüger

Sander van Someren Gréve

Faranaz Ishak

Pre-Litigation Phase under Dutch law

The foundation of effective civil litigation in the Netherlands lies in the thorough pre-litigation phase. Before diving into the complexities of the courtroom, our firm emphasizes the significance of alternative dispute resolution avenues such as mediation, arbitration, and skilled negotiation. Recognizing the importance of early communication, we are proficient in drafting and issuing strategic legal notices and anticipate potential response strategies, including counter-notices. This preliminary stage often determines the direction of a case, ensuring both parties are clear on the claims and possible outcomes.

Commencement of Dutch Proceedings

At the commencement of proceedings in Holland, the crux of the matter comes to the fore. Our legal team specializes in initiating litigation through meticulously drafted summons and statements of claim. The choice of jurisdiction and venue is pivotal. We guide our clients in determining the most competent court for their case and also advise on potential challenges to jurisdiction, ensuring that your case is heard in the most suitable setting.

Summary proceedings in the Netherlands

Summary proceedings (“kort geding”) are proceedings in the Netherlands that can be initiated in case of an urgent procedure. You can think here about lifting an attachment, claiming performance of an agreement and/or standing up against an unlawful situation that must be ended immediately, such as stopping construction work, rectifying a publication or other urgent matters. Summary proceedings are heard by an interim relief judge (“voorzieningenrechter”) and you will usually have a judgment within a few weeks. 

Read more about: injunctive relief proceedings under Dutch law.

Proceedings on the merits in the Netherlands

Dutch proceedings on the merits (“bodemprocedure”) are the most common procedure in the Netherlands. This proceeding also comes with the most guarantees. As a rule, proceedings start with a writ of summons (“Dagvaarding”) in which the claim is explained. The defendant can then respond with a so-called statement of defense (“Conclusie van Antwoord”), a counterclaim can also be formulated here. As a rule, the oral hearing then takes place before the judge. It may also hear witnesses or request additional evidence.

Read more about:  Dutch proceedings on the merits.

Pleadings and Filings in Holland

The art of crafting and responding to pleadings in the Netherlands is a cornerstone of our practice. With each statement of defense, we outline a strategic mix of counterclaims, admissions, and denials tailored to the case. Our expertise extends to further exchanges, including the drafting of rejoinders and surrejoinders. We ensure each filing resonates with the court, painting a clear picture of our client’s stance.

Trials and Hearings in the Netherlands

Trials and hearings in the Netherlands mark the culmination of extensive preparatory work. Our legal team is skilled in case presentation, weaving compelling narratives supported by evidence and legal precedent. We pride ourselves on our ability to articulate persuasive arguments and counter-arguments. Once judgments are delivered, we meticulously analyze the court’s decision and the grounds provided, ensuring clarity and understanding for our clients.

Pre-judgment attachments in the Netherlands

MAAK offers the possibility to assist in filing a petition for the freezing of assets under Dutch law. Under Dutch law, a pre-judgment attachment is a legal mechanism that permits creditors to provisionally secure a debtor’s assets. This is undertaken while awaiting a definitive court decision on the legitimacy of the creditor’s claim. This mechanism primarily aims to (i) Prevent the debtor from altering or transferring assets, safeguarding the creditor’s potential recuperation and (ii) apply ample pressure on the debtor to encourage a potential settlement.

Remedies and Reliefs

Securing appropriate legal remedies in Holland and reliefs for our clients is at the heart of our litigation practice. From arguing for compensatory and punitive damages to seeking orders for specific performance, we aim to achieve the best possible outcome. Our comprehensive understanding of the various orders, directives, and their enforcement mechanisms ensures that our clients get the justice they deserve.

Appeals proceedings in the Netherlands

When a case doesn’t conclude as expected, our appellate expertise comes to the fore. We diligently assess the grounds for appeal proceedings in the Netherlands, ensuring they are rooted in errors in law or factual inaccuracies. Our firm’s thorough understanding of the appellate procedure, from filing to hearings, offers clients the best chance at revisiting and potentially overturning initial verdicts.

Enforcement of Judgments

The conclusion of a case doesn’t always mark its end. Our firm’s proficiency extends to the domestic enforcement of international judgments in Holland, encompassing strategies such as asset seizures and wage garnishments. For international matters, we’re well-versed in the recognition of foreign judgments and navigate the nuances of bilateral and multilateral agreements, ensuring our clients’ victories are honored and implemented globally.

Costs and Legal Fees

Transparency in costs and legal fees in Holland is a hallmark of our firm’s ethos. We guide clients through the maze of standard costs, special costs, and potential awards. Our flexible fee arrangements, ranging from retainers to contingency fees, are designed with our client’s best interests in mind, ensuring that quality legal representation is both effective and economically sensible.

Ethical Considerations and Professional Conduct

Upholding the highest standards of ethical considerations and professional conduct is non-negotiable for our Dutch law firm. We believe in a profound duty to the court, always approaching cases with honesty, integrity, and a commitment to fair representation.  Similarly, our duties to clients encompass absolute confidentiality and rigorous conflict-of-interest checks, ensuring our clients trust and value our unwavering professional commitment.


Our commitment to the principles of thoroughness and transparency is exemplified in our approach to evidence in civil law in the Netherlands and discovery. Whether it’s in-depth document discovery or insightful expert reports, we leave no stone unturned. Our adept legal practitioners are trained in witness examination techniques under Dutch law, ensuring that both direct examinations and cross-examinations are conducted with precision, integrity, and efficacy.


In situations where immediate relief is sought, our firm excels in applications and motions for interim measures and preliminary injunctions under Dutch law. Understanding the criteria for filing and the court’s considerations helps us secure vital orders for our clients. Furthermore, we provide expert advice on the compliance, enforcement, and potential appeals against such measures, ensuring that our clients are always a step ahead.

Limitation periods in the Netherlands

Under Dutch law, a claimant has the right to present a contractual claim, regardless of whether any damage has been incurred. The entitlement to act originates on the date when the contract is violated, with a standard five-year limitation period starting from then. Nevertheless, depending on the specific issue, this limitation period in the Netherlands could be shorter or longer.

Dutch Arbitration

Our firm specialises in arbitration in the Netherlands. Our Dutch arbitration law firm can assist you in drafting arbitration clauses under Dutch law, conducting arbitrations and enforcing arbitral awards in the Netherlands.

Dutch law

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A. de Bruin – Straetus.