Which court is competent to hear the case?
In order to answer the question of which court you should bring your action before, the type of claim can also be important. In Curacao you must bring your claim for collection of a sum of money or a dispute involving a take-over contract before the Court of First Instance. But if you start inquiry proceedings you should go to the Joint Court of Appeal. And if as a civilian you want inquiry proceedings to be brought against a State-owned company, the petition to this end must be submitted to the Public Prosecutions Department (Openbaar Ministerie). The Public Prosecutions Department then has to investigate whether there are sufficient reasons to submit a petition for inquiry proceedings to the court of Appeal.
Obviously there can be multiple counterparties who live in or are registered in different countries. Which court must you go to then? Sometimes there are cases whereby the law provides that you must include all the respective parties in the suit because the issue at hand involves them all and the dispute cannot be dealt with in separate parts. For instance a claim for annulment of a legal act must be brought against all the parties to that legal act. The claim for dissolution of a lease whereby multiple tenants are involved also comes to mind.
As the plaintiff you should know who your counterparty is. If a claim relates to a contractual joint venture such as a limited partnership, who must be sued: the limited partnership, the managing partner and/or the limited partners? And if the shareholders’ meeting of a public or a private limited company passes a resolution which a shareholder opposes, does he bring his claim against those other shareholders and/or against the company? And against whom will he bring his claim if there are important grounds for him to want his shares to be taken over or to want to take-over the shares of the other shareholders? (To be continued)
Attorney (Lawyer) / Partner
(3 May 2013)