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Has it not been possible for the employer and employee to reach an agreement about the ending of an employment contract? In that case, either party (usually the employer) can apply to the subdistrict court to start dismissal proceedings. If the employee has been dismissed without notice (summary dismissal), the employee can apply to the subdistrict court to start proceedings. The application proceedings are governed by civil law. There is no obligation to use a lawyer.


As the employer, you can make an application to the subdistrict court to dissolve an employment contract. You can request the assistance of a lawyer or authorised representative to assist you in these proceedings, although this is not mandatory.

Do you wish to dismiss the employee for economic reasons or has the employee been long-term incapacitated for work? In that case it is not necessary to apply to the subdistrict court, but you need to follow the UWV procedure ( (in Dutch).


 The application proceedings consist of the following steps:

>Alles uitklappen
  • Court application proceedings are started by sending a letter in which you make a request to dissolve the employment contract. This letter is known as an application letter. You are the applicant.

    Content of the application letter

    The application letter should always contain the following:

    • name, address and place of establishment of your business
    • name, address and residence of your employee
    • what you are applying for and why
    • name, address and telephone number of any lawyer or other authorised representative
    • the dates on which you and the other party (and if applicable, the other party's authorised representative) are unable to attend a hearing

    Date and sign the application letter. If you are using the services of a lawyer, then they will do this.

    Supporting documents

    Make copies of any supporting documents for your case. Examples of supporting documents are the employment contract, payslips and performance reviews. You can also ask witnesses to write down their account (witness statement).

    Submitting the application letter

    The application letter together with supporting documents should be sent in duplicate to the court. Please ensure you send: 1 copy for the subdistrict judge and 1 copy for your employee. You should also send another copy directly to your employee (or your employee's representative) – this can be sent by email.

    Send the application letter to the court which has jurisdiction for the relevant employee's usual place of work.

    Label the envelope as follows: FAO subdistrict team, department for application letters You can also hand the documents in at the central desk of the court.

  • Both you as the employer as well as the employee will receive confirmation of the date of receipt and an invitation to the hearing. This invitation states when (date) and where (location) the hearing will take place. If the date is not convenient, you can contact the court registry. You will find information on this in the letter.

    The employee will receive the invitation to the hearing together with a copy of the application letter containing your application for dismissal and the attachments.

  • Attendees at the hearing

    If you do not attend the hearing, this will nearly always result in the judge rejecting your application. As the applicant, you will be the first to speak. You will explain and clarify your application. Then the employee, as the opposing party, will give their response. Then both parties will be given another chance to speak. The judge will also ask questions.

    Power of attorney

    Will you be represented at the hearing by a legal adviser or a colleague, for example someone from HR? Please provide them with a written power of attorney.


    In general, witnesses are not heard at this hearing. However, if you wish witnesses to be heard, you must request permission for this from the judge in good time before the hearing.

    Public hearing

    This is a public hearing. This means that anyone can attend the hearing.


    No response from the employee


    Verification of the address

    If the employee does not submit a defence in response to your application letter and does not appear at the hearing, as the applicant, you must hand over to the subdistrict judge an extract from the Municipal Personal Records Database or the trade register. The reason for doing this is for verification of the address. This extract may not be older than the date on which the invitation to the hearing was sent.

    New invitation

    There are two possibilities:

    • the subdistrict court can send out a new invitation to the employee/opposing party by registered letter
    • the applicant themselves can invite the employee/opposing party by asking a bailiff to hand over the invitation (the costs of a bailiff’s writ are borne by the applicant).

    Dissolution in accordance with application letter

    If the employee/opposing party fails to appear even after being repeatedly invited, then the subdistrict judge can dissolve the employment agreement as requested in the application letter. This decision will be sent to the parties after a few weeks.


    Conflict resolution

    At the hearing, the judge will hold discussions with both parties to find the most appropriate solution to this situation: mediation (in Dutch), settlement (out-of-court solution) or court ruling. 

    Under what circumstances will there be a settlement?

    The judge will give their opinion on how they view the case and will then give the parties the opportunity to reach a joint solution (a settlement) outside the courtroom. 

    If the parties agree on reaching a solution, the settlement is recorded in writing. It is the binding arrangement that the parties must comply with. 

    If the parties fail to reach a solution, the judge themselves will give a ruling on the case.

  • No ruling

    A legal case ends without a ruling:

    • if you, as the applicant, withdraw the proceedings
    • if you reach an agreement through mediation
    • if you reach a settlement with your employee


    At the end of the hearing, the judge will give a date when the ruling will be given (court order). This is usually at the latest within four weeks of the hearing. The court order will be sent to you. If you have a lawyer or authorised representative, he or she will be sent the court order.

    Rejected: no dismissal

    If the subdistrict judge rejects the application, the employment contract remains in force. The judge can determine that you must pay all or some of the costs that the employee/opposing party has incurred (legal costs). The subdistrict court determines the amount of the costs.

    Upheld: dismissal

    If the subdistrict court upholds the application, the court order will state:

    • that the employment contract will be dissolved
    • the reasons for dissolving the employment contract
    • the date on which the employment contract is dissolved
    • whether any financial compensation will be awarded For example, the transition allowance and possibly, any additional compensation (compensation if the employer is seriously at fault), and if so, how much
    • and who must pay the legal costs.

    End date

    The subdistrict judge never has the power to dissolve an employment contract with retroactive effect. The judge will normally take into account the notice period.



    Have you, as the employer, been ordered to pay equitable compensation, but you are not willing to do that? The subdistrict judge will give you the opportunity to withdraw your application letter. The court order will state how many days you have to do that. If you withdraw your application, then the employment contract remains in force. The only determination made by the judge will then be who will pay the legal costs.

  • Appeal

    If you disagree with the court order given by the subdistrict court, you can appeal. This means that you submit your case for new consideration to the appeal court. You must do this within three months of the court ruling. The appeal must be lodged by a lawyer. 

    Appeal (in Dutch)

    Judicial review

    If you subsequently disagree with the court of appeal's decision, you can apply to the Supreme Court for a judicial review. A judicial review is an application made to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands to squash an earlier ruling given by a court of appeal. You will need a lawyer to do this on your behalf.

    Judicial review (in Dutch)


There are costs associated with these proceedings. You can see which costs you need to take into account.

Processing time

Cases involving proceedings to dissolve an employment contract must be dealt with within 5 weeks of receipt. In principle, the court ruling is given 4 weeks after the hearing.

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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