In principle, a foreign judgment cannot simply be enforced in the Netherlands. In order to do so, the judgment must acquire the status of an ‘enforcement order’.

You must go to the Dutch court before the foreign judgment can be considered enforceable. This process is referred to as ‘exequatur proceedings’.

If a treaty has been concluded between the Netherlands and the country in which the judgment was rendered, judgments from that country are automatically recognized in the Netherlands.

The exequatur procedure

In order to start exequatur proceedings in the Netherlands, a duly licensed lawyer must submit a petition to the Dutch court. In these exequatur proceedings, the District Court reviews the foreign judgment against a number of general principles of law and calls on the losing party to be heard.

Because the District Court usually only conducts a review of the main points of the judgment, exequatur proceedings are usually not time-consuming. The law stipulates that the District Court must grant leave to enforce the foreign judgment “promptly”.

Only after the leave is obtained can the foreign judgment be enforced in the Netherlands.

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The European Enforcement Title (EET) as a replacement for the exequatur proceedings

The EET Regulation offers EU Member States the option of certifying a foreign judgment in advance. An EET-certified judgment can be enforced in all Member States of the European Union.

In that case, it is no longer necessary to initiate exequatur proceedings. The court will only issue an EET certificate at the request of the claimant. It will first use the EET Order to determine whether the decision qualifies for certification as an EET judgment. In doing so, the court will look at the way in which the summons was served.

If the proceedings meet all the criteria, an EET-certified judgment can be issued and enforced in all EU Member States.

European Payment Order Procedure (EBB)

The European Payment Order is an effective instrument. The European Payment Order makes it easy to file international claims through a standard, form-based proceedings. Because the proceedings are standard, they are relatively simple and work the same in all EU Member States except Denmark.

A lawyer can apply to The District Court of The Hague for a European Payment Order. A condition for allowing such a request is that the claim to which the request relates must involve an undisputed monetary claim that is due and payable.

If the claim is disputed by the debtor and/or the claim is not yet due and payable when the application is submitted, the District Court will reject the EPO application. Normal collection proceedings can always be started at that time.

Enforcing foreign judgments in the Netherlands

The route to be followed for enforcing a foreign judgment in the Netherlands depends on the country in which the foreign judgment was rendered. A judgment from one of the EU Member States is relatively easy to enforce in the Netherlands.

Generally speaking, if the judgment in question was rendered outside an EU Member State, exequatur proceedings will have to be initiated.

VIOTTA’s lawyers specialize in the enforcement of foreign judgments in the Netherlands. At VIOTTA, you will not be faced with any unpleasant surprises. We are always clear in our communication and transparent about costs.

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VIOTTA is a law firm based in Amsterdam, specialising in providing advice in the areas of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, contract law and corporate & commercial dispute resolution. We advise in transactional matters and litigate in commercial disputes. VIOTTA provides legal advice to its clients on Dutch corporate law matters, such as corporate governance, board structures, directors’ duties and liabilities, joint ventures and other collaborations. VIOTTA advises purchasers, sellers, management and other stakeholders in domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

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