Preliminary relief within several weeks, sometimes within days or hours

In all matters for which an immediate injunction, measure, or decision is required, the parties may address themselves to the Courts. If the matter does not require immediate resolution, the Court will deny the relief sought and refer the parties to the normal procedure. These preliminary relief proceedings (kort geding procedure) differ substantially from, for instance, US summary proceedings.

This type of intervention by the Courts is sought in many kinds of matters, including disputes with shareholders, attachments, or the enforcement of judgments. At the request of the claimant, the Court may stipulate in its order that the defendant shall forfeit a penalty for each day, or other period of time that the defendant fails to comply with the ordered measures or injunction, or for as long as the defendant acts in contravention of the decision by the court.

Almost all proceedings in the Dutch Caribbean start with the filing of an initial request with the Court of First Instance. Summary proceedings are not an exeption to this rule. The Court will assume the responsibility for serving the writ of summons on the defendant(s).

The Courts in the Dutch Caribbean will fix a date for the hearing within two weeks of filing the initial request. In extremely urgent matters, the Court may schedule a hearing the very same day or within days of filing the petition.

The Court will render its judgment usually one week after the hearing but in extremely urgent matters it may render its judgment immediately, or within several hours or days. Although the judgment will only be a provisional measure, it will – if in favor of the claimant – most probably serve its purpose as it is normally (provisionally) enforceable.

Summary proceedings do not have to be followed with a claim in normal proceedings; the provisional measure will be valid and enforceable with or without initiating such proceedings, unless the Court stipulates that the plaintiff, in order to be allowed to enforce the judgment in these summary proceedings, must file a petition in regular proceedings within a certain period of time.

Generally, documents that one wishes to submit in summary proceedings must be sent to the Court and to the opposite party at least three days prior to the hearing. The Court may ignore any documents submitted later if the opposite party were to object to the late submission, claiming that it hinders the course of the proceedings. Documents submitted to the Court may be in English. Certified copies are not required and faxes will also be accepted.

Karel Frielink
Attorney (Lawyer) / Partner

(12 July 2011)


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.