Standard proceedings or proceedings on the merits (bodemprocedure) are in first instance heard before a Dutch district court. We advise initiating proceedings on the merits when, for example, a counterparty or debtor may dispute the claim on arguable grounds: such as a defence that delivered goods were defective.
The proceedings start with a writ of summons that contains the claim and its grounds. The writ is drafted for you by your Dutch attorney from AMS. The final writ of summons is served on the counterparty or debtor, ordering the counterparty or debtor to appear in court on a set date. Depending on the amount and the nature of the claim, the defendant can appear either in person or be represented by an attorney. On the set court date, the defendant has to file its written defence (the proceedings are, unless stated otherwise, conducted in writing), or ask for an adjournment. When the written defence is filed, the court usually schedules a court hearing at which all parties must appear. After the court hearing, the court will issue its judgment. This judgment is, in most cases, subject to appeal. Proceedings on the merits usually take 6 to 12 months to be completed before a district court.
AMS, based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is conveniently located near Schiphol Airport (10 minutes by car or train). Our team of litigation lawyers provides legal services in the Netherlands for clients around the world and has in-depth advisory and litigating experience acting on behalf of Dutch and international corporates and private individuals. AMS’s expertise includes corporate law, real estate law, commercial tenancy law, employment law, insolvency law, construction law, debt collection and contract law. We are committed to providing our clients with not only excellent service, but also cost-effective fee structures.