Debt Collection in The Netherlands – How to enforce a foreign title?

Debt Collection in The Netherlands – How to enforce a foreign title?

If you are looking to enforce a verdict in The Netherlands and recover your clients claim with Dutch assets, there are a couple of ways to do so. First of all, it depends on the origin of the verdict you have obtained. If this is a verdict from a EU country, the possibility to enforce it in The Netherlands is fairly straightforward.  If the verdict has been given by a court outside of the EU however, it is more complicated.

Enforceable EU verdict

On the basis of the Brussel Ibis Regulation it is in principal possible to enforce a verdict given by a court of one member state in another member state without judicial permission of the court of the member state in which you seek enforcement. This applies only for verdicts dated after 10 January 2015 in civil and commercial matters and furthermore only for verdicts which are already enforceable in the country of origin. The defendant must also reside in a member state (notwithstanding a couple of exceptions to this rule for example in consumer or employment cases). The claimant can simply apply for a ‘certificate concerning a judgment in civil and commercial matters’ with the court which gave the verdict in first instance. You can find an example of such a certificate in Annex 1 of the Regulation. The certificate must be served to the defendant in reasonable time prior to the enforcement, and it must be accompanied by the original verdict.

If the defendant does not adhere to the verdict within the reasonable amount of time as mentioned in the certificate, further enforcement measures can be taken. The Dutch bailiff can seize and execute assets to fulfill obligations under the verdict without further interference of the court. This is therefore a fairly simple way of debt collection with relatively low costs and a short timeframe.

Non-EU verdict

As stated above, enforcement in The Netherlands of a non-EU verdict can be more complicated, depending on the origin of the verdict. There are various conventions between countries, which stipulate under which circumstances and via which procedure verdicts can be enforced cross-border. The most frequently used conventions for enforcement in The Netherlands are the Lugano Convention (between certain European and non-European countries bordering or close to Europe, such as Norway, Sweden, Iceland etc.) and the Hague Service Convention (between more than 70 countries worldwide). The Lugano Convention includes a regulation for enforcement of verdicts. The Hague Service Convention only regulates means of service and notice of the foreign verdict. Many countries to the latter convention have made certain reservations to it.

If your client wishes to enforce a obtained verdict in The Netherlands, it is therefore essential to seek specialized advice on the means to do so. Pellicaan Advocaten can assist in this process. In Sonia’s next article she will elaborate on the possibility to provisionally seize property without a verdict in The Netherlands, with the goal to freeze assets of a debtor pending a definite decision on a claim.

Sonia Beedie

Pellicaan Advocaten



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