What are the statutory periods for lodging an objection in the Netherlands, and when is an extended objection period applied?
In the Netherlands, persons or companies that are declared bankrupt can lodge an objection or an appeal against their bankruptcy. An objection can only be lodged if the bankrupt party did not appear in court. If the bankrupt party did appear in court but disagrees with the declaration of bankruptcy, then the (legal)person in question can lodge an appeal against the bankruptcy. Lodging an objection or an appeal in the Netherlands is subject to statutory periods. This blog focuses primarily on the statutory periods for lodging an appeal. Dutch insolvency lawyer Mariëlle de Wild provides an explanation based on a recent court ruling.
Lodging an appeal after bankruptcy
A (legal)person can lodge an appeal against his or its bankruptcy if he or it did not appear in the proceedings relating to his bankruptcy and was therefore not heard in court. An appeal must be lodged by filing a petition with the registrar of the court by whom the bankruptcy was declared. No appeal can be lodged without a lawyer: the petition must be signed by a lawyer.
Statutory objection period in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, the lodging of an objection by the bankrupt party must take place within a period of fourteen days as from the date on which bankruptcy was declared. If the bankrupt (legal)person was abroad on the day on which bankruptcy was declared, a longer objection period is applied, namely one month, also commencing as from the date on which the bankruptcy was declared. The District Court of The Hague recently expressed its opinion on this extended objection period.
Director abroad, extended objection period?
A Dutch private company was put into liquidation without having appeared in court. The company lodged an appeal on what it considered to be the last day of the applicable extended objection period of four weeks. It was argued that the reason for not appearing in court and for having the extended objection period applied, was the fact that the indirect director of the company had been abroad when the bankruptcy was declared. Prior to assessing the substance of the petition, the court ascertained whether or not this reasoning was correct.
The court: “The company does not accompany the director”
The company equated itself with its (sole) indirect director. The court found no connecting factors with this reasoning, seeing that the company was considered an independent legal entity (read: legal person). The request for bankruptcy was aimed against the company as a debtor. There were no indications that the company had been abroad when the bankruptcy was declared. Moreover, the court also considered the lack of a statutory provision in which it is stated that, if the debtor is a company, the term debtor should, in accordance with the Dutch Bankruptcy Act, also be considered to be the (indirect) director of that company.
Engaging a Dutch insolvency lawyer in lodging an objection
Have you or your company been declared bankrupt while you or your company did not appear in the bankruptcy proceedings, resulting in a situation in which the bankrupt party was not heard? If so, then you can lodge an appeal against the bankruptcy. Please be aware of the relatively short period of two weeks that is in principle applied within which to lodge your appeal. Do you want to know which period is applicable to your specific situation? Then contact the insolvency lawyers at AMS Advocaten. They will be happy to advise you and assist you in lodging an objection.