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Faster legal procedure in Amsterdam

Publication date: 11 April 2019
From June 2019 onwards, there will be a fast-track procedure for commercial matters at the Amsterdam District Court. This procedure is suitable for matters that are not urgent and that do not deal with complicated issues of evidence. However, the parties must agree with conducting such a procedure.

Netherlands Commercial Court - social media

Dutch commercial law has two types of proceedings: interim relief proceedings and proceedings on the merits. Interim relief proceedings are only possible if there is an urgent interest and can only lead to an interim measure, such as permission to operate a shop until judgement has been delivered in proceedings on the merits. Judgements about the existence or change of a legal situation, for instance that a contract is not valid or that someone becomes the owner of building, can only be given in proceedings on the merits.

Parties also often want clarity fast in proceedings on the merits. From June 2019 onwards, this is possible at the commercial law department of the District Court of Amsterdam by means of a fast-track procedure.

Fast-track procedure

The fast-track procedure closely resembles interim relief proceedings. After receiving the summons, the court schedules a hearing at which the parties must appear in person (comparitie). The defendant must submit the defence at least two weeks before the hearing. During the hearing, the judge will try to settle and often also give an indication as to what kind of decision the parties can expect. If the parties are still not able to reach an agreement, the court will in principle give an oral verdict. If this is not possible, a written judgement will be delivered within four weeks.

Conditions for participation in the fast-track procedure

A fast-track procedure can also be conducted if there is no urgency. However, there are certain conditions involved:

  • The procedure does not require an extensive examination of witnesses or expert opinion.
  • Both parties must agree with conducting this procedure. After all, they give up their right to collect evidence by means of witness examination and expert opinion.

Which matters are suitable for the fast-track procedure?

The procedure is particularly suitable for matters that are not too complex but where the parties cannot come to a decision by other means, such as mediation, and have a need for a binding decision by an independent third party.

Our advice

  • Discuss with your lawyer whether your case is suitable for a fast-track procedure.

Litigation lawyer in Amsterdam

Would you like to learn more about court proceedings or other forms of dispute resolution, such as arbitration or mediation? Please contact us.

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