Dutch companies who do international business may get involved in a foreign lawsuit. Such a lawsuit can result in a foreign judgment against a company in the Netherlands. A ruling from a foreign court is not automatically enforceable here, unless this is provided for in a treaty or EU-regulation. If this is not the case, however, it is necessary to start a new procedure in which an order for the enforcement of a judgment is secured. This is called an exequatur.
The Dutch judge in an exequatur procedure shall usually take into consideration that the case has already been brought before a foreign judge. According to the European Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgment in Civil and Commercial Matters, a Dutch judge can merely assess whether the decision of the foreign judge is not contrary to public order. To secure an exequatur, a lawyer needs to provide the court with an original authenticated copy of the judgment, if necessary accompanied by a translation.
A court ruling delivered by one of the EU-member states on an uncontested claim, can be certified as a European Enforcement Order (EEO). The EEO is a certificate that enables judgments to be recognized and enforced automatically in another member state without any intermediate proceedings. An EEO is only given when the document instituting proceedings (usually the subpoena) meets certain minimum requirements and has been served correctly to the debtor. Only the document service methods listed in the Regulation creating a European Enforcement Order for uncontested claims are allowed. A default judgment will not be certified as an EEO if the domicile of the debtor is not absolutely certain.
An EEO will be issued after request by using a standard form. In order to be certified as an EEO, a claim needs to be uncontested and due. A lawyer can request for certification at the start or during of the proceedings, or after the judgment is passed. It is possible that only parts of the judgment will be certified. The EEO is a quick and relatively cheap way to secure enforcement of a foreign judgment. On the enforcement the law of the member state applies where enforcement of the judgment is requested.
The European Order for Payment (EOP) applies to civil and commercial matters in cross-border cases. A cross-border case is when at least one of the parties is domiciled in an EU country other than the country of the court hearing the action. The Regulation creating a European Order for Payment Procedure applies to all EU countries except Denmark. A lawyer can apply for an EOPP by submitting a standard form at a Dutch court. The claim to which the EOPP relates has to be due at the moment the EOPP is requested. When the court awards the request, the judge shall issue the order within 30 days after the lodging of the application. If the defendant does not oppose the order within 30 days, after the order has been issued, the order for payment is enforceable: the EOPP is recognized and enforced in all EU countries without the need for a exequatur or other declaration of enforceability.
The European Small Claims Procedure is intended to improve access to justice by simplifying cross-border small claims litigation in civil and commercial matters and reducing costs. The procedure, which can be done without a solicitor, applies to all EU countries except Denmark and is only applicable on claims under € 2.000 (excluding interest). The European Small Claims Procedure starts with filing a claim by using a standard form at the competent court. Then the claim is served to the defendant who has 30 days to file a written response. Judgments are recognized and enforced in the other Member States, without the need of an exequatur, and cannot be reviewed as to substance in the Member State of enforcement. Appeals against a judgment given in the European Small Claims Procedure are governed by the procedural law of the Member States.
The Dutch lawyers with AMS are considered specialists in debt collection and have gained broad experience in resolving claims in a cost efficient manner. Also for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, you can rely on our debt collection specialists. We can advise you about the best options and strategies when enforcing your foreign judgment or initiate a European small claims procedure. The lawyers of AMS are highly involved in their clients’ cases and offer a sharp fee structure. Should you have further questions on debt collection, please contact our office.