Summary proceedings, also known as preliminary relief proceedings, interlocutory proceedings or interim relief proceedings, are there to provide urgently-needed temporary relief. A party that has an urgent case that needs a quick decision by means of a civil court order in the Netherlands jurisdiction should consider the initiation of summary proceedings.
Interim proceedings are an accelerated civil procedure before the preliminary relief judge of the court. The summary proceedings are as follows. The claimant formulates his claim in a summons. This is drawn up by a registered lawyer and the draft is submitted to the court. On the basis of the content of the summons, the court sets a date for an oral hearing.
If the defendant wants to request a postponement of the hearing, it must first be discussed with the claimant.
If the claimant agrees, the request for postponement will be granted by the preliminary relief judge. If the claimant does not agree, the judge hearing the case will decide whether the hearing will go ahead.
Everything becomes fluid under pressure. What did not work before, now works. The parties use the time between the announcement of the summary proceedings and the date of the hearing not only for exchanging documents and preparing the hearing, but also for negotiating. It often happens that parties reach an understanding well before the date of the hearing and enter into a settlement agreement. The summary proceedings can subsequently be withdrawn. If negotiations fail, the next phase of the procedure will commence.
The oral hearing follows on the date determined by the preliminary relief judge. Both parties will have the opportunity to explain the case orally. The counterparty may also timely file a counterclaim. The claimant may then respond to the counterclaim at the hearing. Depending on the subject of the case and the personal approach of the court in preliminary relief proceedings, the judge will also ask questions and will possibly try to motivate parties to try to settle the case amicably. If the case is not settled or withdrawn, the court will determine the date for the judgment. A ruling can be given immediately in very urgent cases. Normally the verdict is pronounced a week or two after the hearing. Parties do not have to be present. It is common for only a written judgment to be issued.
After the hearing, a written judgment will in principle be given two weeks later, unless the preliminary relief judge decided otherwise at the hearing. The judgment in summary proceedings is a provisional judgment. Both parties can still refer the case to the ordinary civil court, which in its decision is not bound by the judgment in summary proceedings. But in many cases, the parties accept the court's decision. In that case, a judgment in summary proceedings is therefore a sort of final decision.
The summary proceedings are useful in all cases where a court decision is required quickly, for example when the other party refuses to honor an agreement. Trade name infringement and unjust termination of an agreement of long duration are just two examples. But the type of cases that can be submitted to the preliminary relief judge of the Court is very diverse.
The preliminary relief judge will always consider whether a case is suitable for interim relief. If the case is unsuitable, the preliminary relief judge will dismiss the matter. A case is unsuitable for interim relief when the case is factually complex or when the case is not urgent. Proper formulation of the claim and a sound substantiation of the position taken is therefore a first requirement.
We litigate in summary proceeding for both the claimants and the defendants. Are you being sued by your opponent? Or do you want the judge to impose an urgent measure upon your opponent quickly? Please contact us and present your case without obligation, so that we can indicate whether we can help you with the matter. Not for nothing is our motto: "Your problem, our concern."
Hein Kernkamp will gladly help you further.
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