THREE QUESTIONS ABOUT DUTCH CARIBBEAN CIVIL PROCEEDINGS

FAQ

Question 1

Are there any particular issues that concern foreign plaintiffs in the Netherlands Antilles?

If proceedings on the merits are initiated by a non-resident plaintiff, the defendant may ask the court to order that the plaintiff provide security for damages, costs and interest which it might be liable to pay as a result of the judgment in aforementioned proceedings. This “cautio judicatum solvi” does not apply if there is a Convention (Treaty) on legal proceedings between the Netherlands Antilles and the plaintiff’s country.

Question2

Can attorney costs for legal proceedings be recovered?

Generally speaking, each party has to bear its own attorney costs, except if there is an agreement in place between the parties providing for such compensation. Other costs related to proceedings are for instance bailiff costs and court fees.

The extent to which the aforementioned costs of litigation are to be borne by the party losing the case are determined by the court. The costs will in fact not compensate the actual costs and attorneys fees incurred. They are based on standard fees for certain standard activities and on the amount of the claim. In most cases it is not possible to recover the actual costs of litigation from the unsuccessful party.

Question 3

Can assets in the Netherlands Antilles be frozen while the proceedings on the merits take place in another jurisdiction?

Under the laws of the Netherlands Antilles it is possible to freeze assets, while the competent forum for the main proceedings might, for example, be a foreign court, or even an arbitral tribunal. However, under the laws of the Netherlands Antilles one cannot file one and the same claim (on the merits) with several courts simultaneously. Thus the fact that a plaintiff had previously filed the same claim with one or more foreign courts would be one of the first lines of defense in proceedings in the Netherlands Antilles.

Karel Frielink
Attorney (Lawyer) / Partner

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