When it comes to serving papers in the Netherlands, it all comes down to what kind of papers are being served. In the Netherlands, serving legal papers is a key stage in the process of a formal legal dispute. Documents may be sent and served in the Netherlands through private process servers such as bailiffs, registered post, and local agents. However, these means of Netherlands Process Service may only be used in the form of service is recognized by Dutch law for the particular legal document for which it is intended. Certain proceedings or court papers may only be served via registered mail. Click here for How the Hague Convention Simplifies International Process Service.

International Process Service

Diplomatic conduits are used to deliver papers. Diplomatic channels are utilized only when required by law or treaty or where existing arrangements such as bilateral and convention arrangements do not exist. Most court papers are served by a bailiff in the Netherlands. A Dutch lawyer can help you have a legal document served in the Netherlands correctly. Legal documents may not be counted if they are not supplied in accordance with Dutch legislation. The Court might dismiss a matter for lack of service on the part of the defendant or respondent. Plaintiffs and/or Petitioners have the option of restarting their legal battles with Dutch defendants. Pre-trial disclosure and discovery are also worth looking into. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

Depending on the document and the intended recipient, the proper method of serving papers will vary. The Writ of Summons (Dagvaarding) and the Application to a Dutch Court are the principal papers delivered by the Claimant to a Defendant. A Dutch Bailiff is always required to serve process on a Writ of Summons. A Dutch lawyer may serve a Netherlands Process Service application to the court. Once a case has been filed and is pending before the Dutch court system, only the Dutch attorneys hired by the parties may handle the legal papers involved. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.

Whenever a summons, notice to appear in court, or garnishment is required, the Dutch Bailiff will deliver the documents at the company’s registered office address (the location where the firm really does its work). and a registered copy of the document. Another method of Netherlands Process Service in the Netherlands is to hand the document over to one of the directors, liquidators, or other fully-authorized persons acting in the company’s name. Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation.

One must show that a document as proof of service once it has been served. An official may allow oral testimony, although Netherlands Process Service is normally in a written language unless the Registrar or Judge permits it. There must be a Netherlands Process Service copy of the document served by the bailiff in order to issue a Certificate of Service (also known as an exploit). The server must also include a copy of the signature collected by the postal service at the time the document was delivered or a printout of the delivery confirmation provided by the postal service utilized. Any document served on the Dutch lawyer must be signed by the receiving lawyer (or an employee of the law firm) in order for Netherlands Process Service to be valid (if the client has decided to domicile at that lawyer’s address).

Dagvaarding is served by the Dutch bailiff on the defendant in the majority of court cases in the Netherlands. The defendant is required to appear in court in the Netherlands on a certain day and time, as stated in this writ. As soon as a date is mentioned in the writ, the plaintiff’s bailiff or advocate registers it at court.

The summons is delivered to the defendant by the bailiff if they live in the Netherlands. Writs may be served on the defendant’s registered office or on any of its directors if the defendant is a legal body. There are different procedures and restrictions for defendants who live outside the Netherlands or who do not know whether they have a domicile in the Netherlands.

Defendants who live in the Netherlands or who have selected the Netherlands as their domicile must wait at least one week before showing up in court. The time limit is shortened to four weeks if the defendant lives in one of the states covered by the EC Service Regulation. The defendant has three months to move if they are a non-resident of the state in question.

Written statements are used by parties to present their arguments to the court. Each side has the option of submitting a written statement. Statements of defense are filed by the claimant and the defendant.

The claimant’s writ of summons must include [A.] pertinent facts, as well as details of the dispute and any remedies requested (e.g. specific performance or damages); [B.] the root of a problem; and [C.] the evidence and witnesses that the claimant intends to use to support his claim to the competent court on the day of the first official appearance in court (in so far as known). The defendant’s statement of defense must include a rebuttal to claimants’ allegations, evidence, and witnesses that the defendant will use to bolster their case are all significant facts.

Claims and counterclaims (statements of reply and counterclaims) may only be submitted by the parties if approved by the court. The Dutch court usually requires the parties to appear in court following the submission of the statement of defense. Thereafter, a court-appointed judge may decide whether or not the matter can be resolved. A corporation’s directors or other corporate representatives are often asked to produce evidence of their competency in order to resolve a dispute.

Six weeks following the conclusion of the trial or the submission of the last closing arguments, a decision is generally rendered. Depending on the outcome, the decision will be either interim or final. Interim judgments are issued when the final decision has yet to be rendered. The parties are bound by final judgments, which are final and binding.

A Dutch court’s decision will be binding soon once it is issued. As soon as an appeal is filed, the judgment becomes invalid and cannot be enforced. Even if an appeal is filed, parties may seek that a decision is declared temporarily enforceable by the court.

The Central Authority sends the Netherlands Process Service papers to a random bailiff in the Court District of The Hague, with the request that the bailiff serves the documents on the individual involved. The Central Authority transmits the Netherlands Process Service papers to the designated Public Prosecutor’s Office or International Legal Assistance Center (IRC) and asks that a bailiff be summoned to serve them in another district.

When it comes to dealing with the authorities, informal delivery is much like an official service. According to the explanatory memorandum for the Implementation Act, the Public Prosecutor should normally deploy a local police officer in the Court District involved for a matter in the Dutch language. On occasion, a member of the documents service brigade’ or the postal service is called upon to deliver papers to a certain location.

Netherlands Process Service in other contracting states was made easier by the Hague Service Convention. For each contracting state, there is a central body responsible for accepting service requests. The central authority of the state where service is to be made may be contacted immediately by a judicial officer authorized to serve Netherlands Process Service in the state of origin. A local court or other entity designated by the recipient state’s central authority organizes for provision of Netherlands Process Service after the request has been received. A certificate of service is sent to the court official who requested it after service has been completed.

Hague Service Convention requests often take two to four months rather than six to one year since it utilizes standard forms that should be recognized by authorities in other states, and it is also less expensive than using letters rogatory (in most cases).

Documents may be served by the mail system or by diplomatic/consular agents, judicial officers, authorities, or other competent people under the Hague Convention. Member nations may or may not approve these provisions as a lawful method of serving the papers in their jurisdiction under Articles 8 to 10. Using the Central Agency (Article 5) to deliver papers is mandatory for all member nations. For the most part, the Central Agency’s services take four to twelve months to complete. Even if a certificate of Netherlands Process Service or delivery from the Central Agency has not been obtained by the plaintiffs after six months, the convention provides them with a remedy. If the Court feels that an appropriate amount of time has passed, it may provide a decision in certain situations. Moreover, the court has the power to grant a temporary injunction or protective measure before the six-month waiting time is over, in the event of an emergency.

Only states that have not objected to this means of Netherlands Process Service under Article 10(a) of the convention, as well as the jurisdiction in which the matter is being heard, accept service by mail.

To serve civil and commercial issues, Netherlands process servers are required to adhere to the Hague Service Convention, which was signed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law members on November 15, 1965, in Hague, Netherlands. With it, plaintiffs may now serve papers on overseas parties who are located, functioning, or based reliably and efficiently. To serve process in civil and commercial proceedings, but not criminal ones, the convention’s requirements apply. Also, if the address of the person to be served is unknown for purposes of Netherlands Process Service, the Convention does not apply.

Every document that has been sent to the requested authority under Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2007 on the service of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters.

The bailiff has been designated in the Netherlands as the receiving and transmitting agency. Under Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2007 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters, the requested authority in this Member State on its own initiative will not try and establish the whereabouts of the addressee of the documents to be served if the addressee no longer resides at the Netherlands Process Service  address known to the requesting authority

In the Netherlands, the courts are the competent authority with respect to Regulation (EC) No 1206/2001 of 28 May 2001. However, the Dutch courts are not competent to retrieve a party’s address (on request).

Netherlands Process Service of the document is one of a bailiff’s official duties (Article 2 of the Bailiffs Act (Gerechtsdeurwaarderswet)). After verification, as described under question 4.1, the bailiff must serve the document received for Netherlands Process Service to its addressee. In principle, documents are served in person. There are no alternative methods apart from the ‘substituted service.’ 

Electronic service of documents is not authorized in the Netherlands. The law of this Member State does not allow for other methods of Netherlands Process Service in cases where it has not been possible to serve the documents to the addressee (e.g. notification to the home address, to the bailiff office, by postal service, or by poster advertising) Netherlands Process Service is also possible to an address other than that of the addressee’s domicile, provided that the bailiff meets and speaks to the addressee in person. If the addressee has no known domicile or residence in the Netherlands, a document can be deposited at the public prosecutor’s office.

Bailiffs do not serve documents by post, although the transmitting agency in another Member State can send the document to the addressee directly by post.

If the addressee refuses to accept the document served by the bailiff, the bailiff is entitled to leave the document at the registered address in a sealed envelope. Netherlands Process Service is deemed to have been affected at that time.

If the addressee refuses to accept the Netherlands Process Service document on grounds of translation (Article 8(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007), the bailiff must record this refusal in the certificate and designate it as non-service. 


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1. A state that is a party to the Hague Service Convention 1965, or the 1954 Hague Convention (CCP), or another state that is a party to the EC Service Regulation.

2. It is dependent on the defendant’s residence and whether or not it is outside the Netherlands as to how much time must have passed between the service of the writ and the presence in court.

3. Closing (written) arguments are generally provided in cases when there is no order to appear in court.

4. In practice, the Public Prosecutor serves via the police; if no one is home, a message is left indicating where the document may be picked up.

5. There is no need for translation. A translation of the summary, on the other hand, would be welcome. There are no international treaties in place at this time.

6. The bailiff is required to check the domicile of the addressee in the Dutch population register (BRP). This mandatory verification will also show any new address if the addressee is no longer resident at the address indicated.

7. The authorities in this Member State deal with a request sent under the Council Regulation (EC) No. 1206/2001 of 28 May 2001 on cooperation between the courts of the Member States in the taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters aimed at discovering a person’s current address.

8. Article 47 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Wetboek van Burgerlijke Rechtsvordering.

9. According to the most recent European Court of Justice case law, it is for the court to decide to what extent a refusal is valid (Novo Banco judgment).


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