Filing for the bankruptcy of another person or organisation

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Do you want to file an application for you or your organisation (company, foundation or association) to be declared bankrupt? Or do you, as a creditor, want to file an application for another person or organisation to be declared bankrupt? If the conditions are met, you can start legal proceedings. A lawyer is only required for filing an application for another person or organisation to be declared bankrupt. These proceedings fall under civil law.

Filing for the bankruptcy of another person or organisation

Are you a creditor? And has a person or organisation (company, foundation or association) not paid your invoice despite reminders? If your debtor meets certain conditions, you can file for bankruptcy. You must engage a lawyer for this procedure.  

Conditions for filing for bankruptcy

Your debtor (person, company, foundation or association):

  • has stopped paying, and
  • has two or more debts with different creditors, and which at least one of these debts is due and payable (the payment deadline has expired).

 The bankruptcy filing proceedings consist of the following steps:

>Alles uitklappen

  • You can file the bankruptcy petition alone or together with other creditors.

    Submitting the petition

    Your lawyer starts the procedure by submitting a petition to the district court. In this, your lawyer asks on your behalf for your debtor to be declared bankrupt. You are the applicant.

    Multiple requests for the same debtor to be declared bankrupt

    Are other creditors also petitioning for your debtor to be declared bankrupt? In that case, the court will deal with the oldest request that meets the legal requirements. The other requests will then not be processed for the time being.

    For detailed information, see:

  • Your lawyer will receive notice of the hearing from the court within a few weeks. This will state where, when and at what time the hearing is to take place. Your debtor will also receive notice. Bankruptcy hearings usually take place on a fixed day of the week, which is often Tuesday.

    Is your debtor a natural person, or a natural person with a business (owner of a sole proprietorship, partner in a general partnership or managing partner of a limited partnership)? In that case, that person will be informed of the possibility to apply for debt restructuring within 14 days of the notice to attend. More information about statutory debt restructuring (in Dutch)

    If you want extra time to negotiate with your debtor

    As a creditor/applicant, would you like to negotiate with your debtor regarding payment of the debt before the hearing? And do you need more time for this? In that case, your lawyer can ask the district court to adjourn the proceedings by way of the ‘Verzoek aanhouding faillissementsrekest’ [Application for suspension of a bankruptcy petition] form, or during the hearing.

    Only you, as the creditor/applicant, can request such an adjournment. The district court will adjourn the case a maximum of four times within a period of 8 weeks.

    If you want to withdraw the application

    Do you want to withdraw your petition for your debtor to be declared bankrupt, e.g. because your debtor has paid? In that case, you can send the ‘Verzoek intrekking faillissementsrekest’ [Application to withdraw a bankruptcy petition] form to the district court. Your lawyer can also withdraw the petition verbally during the hearing.

  • Does your debtor disagree with the bankruptcy petition? In that case, the debtor (defendant) object to it. The debtor can do so by submitting a verweerschrift (statement of defence) or putting forward an oral defence during the hearing. Your debtor does not have to be represented by a lawyer.

    Statement of defence

    In the statement of defence, the debtor writes their response to your petition. The debtor will indicate why they disagree with your petition and can attach copies of evidence to support their view. The district court will provide you with a copy of this statement of defence and any appendices.

    Are you a debtor and has your creditor filed a petition for you to be declared bankrupt? More information about filing a defence (in Dutch)

  • The hearing is not public.

    The district court may decide on the petition without an oral hearing if you and the defendant have notified it in writing that you agree to this.

    You must be present

    You, as the creditor/applicant, as well as your lawyer, must appear at the hearing. If, without prior notification, no one appears at the hearing on your behalf as the applicant, the court may reject the petition.

    Your debtor does not have to attend

    It is not mandatory for the debtor/defendant to be present at the hearing. However, if the debtor/defendant does not appear at the hearing and has not submitted a written statement of defence, the court can declare the debtor bankrupt in a verstekvonnis (default judgment). The debtor can appeal against a default judgment.

    Oral proceedings

    As the creditor, you will be given the opportunity to explain your petition verbally. Your debtor can put forward an oral defence or explain their defence in writing. Does your debtor want to rely on documentary evidence in their oral defence? Then the debtor must submit this in triplicate, not later than at the hearing. The district court will ensure that you receive one copy of the documents submitted. The judge will ask questions during the hearing in order to assess whether or not to approve the petition. In all cases, for your petition to be approved, the debtor’s situation must meet the legal requirements (in Dutch).

  • The judge usually makes a decision (judgment) during the hearing. If this is impossible, the decision will follow as soon as possible, usually within 1 or 2 weeks. You, your lawyer and your debtor will be sent a copy of the judgment.

    Petition granted

    If the court grants the request and declares the debtor bankrupt, your debtor can appeal against or object to a default judgment.

    The bankruptcy will still take effect. With the judgment:


    The registrar of the district court registers the judgment in the court’s bankruptcy register and in the Centraal Insolventieregister (CIR, Central Insolvency Register). The judgment is also published in the Government Gazette (Staatscourant).

    Consequences of being declared bankrupt

    For you as a creditor

    • You can no longer seize the debtor’s assets yourself
    • You submit your claim to the administrator with supporting documents
    • The final list of recognised claims is established at the verification meeting
    • • If the administrator is able to pay creditors, you, as a creditor, will be paid according to the administrator's distribution list
    • You can try to collect any remaining debt after the bankruptcy

    For your debtor

    • All possessions are confiscated (except the basic life necessities)
    • Loss of management and disposal of assets
    • All mail is forwarded directly to the administrator

    Petition dismissed

    If the court dismisses the bankruptcy petition and you disagree with this decision, you can appeal.

  • Opposition

    Has the court declared your debtor bankrupt in a default judgment? The debtor can oppose this decision before the same district court. A lawyer must submit the opposition within 14 days of the decision.


    You can appeal against the dismissal of your bankruptcy petition. This means that you submit your case to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration. You must do this within 8 days of the court’s decision. The appeal must be lodged by a lawyer.

    Judicial review

    If you subsequently disagree with the Court of Appeal’s decision, you have 8 days to apply to the Supreme Court for judicial review. Judicial review is an application made to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands to quash an earlier Court of Appeal decision. You will need a lawyer to do this on your behalf.

Costs of bankruptcy proceedings

You have to pay court costs and lawyer’s fees for these proceedings. You may also have other costs.

Processing time for bankruptcy proceedings

In general, the hearing in bankruptcy proceedings takes place within 6 weeks of the petition being filed. The decision will be made during the hearing or as soon as possible afterwards. During the legal proceedings, the parties can be granted a maximum adjournment of 8 weeks.

Questions and answers

What is the difference between bankruptcy and debt restructuring (Wsnp)

The most important difference between bankruptcy and debt restructuring (known in Dutch as the Wet schuldsanering natuurlijke personen or ‘Wsnp’) is that debt restructuring can mean that a debtor does not have any more debts.

What is the supervisory judge’s most important task?

The supervisory judge is supervising the managing and selling of the debtor’s property.

What is the insolvency practitioner’s most important task?

The insolvency practitioner tries to make sure that the creditors get paid as much as possible. He or she makes an overview of the debtor’s property, the creditors’ claims and the order in which the creditors should be paid after the debtor’s property has been sold.


Legal advice

Would you like personal advice on your situation? Do you need assistance with drafting documents or during the hearing? You have the option at all times to engage the services of a lawyer or other legal advisor.

Contact the Rechtspraak Service Centre

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