Costs of bringing a case

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A court case can involve several different costs. You pay court fees so that the judge will hear the case. You may also have to pay for a lawyer, an authorised representative, a mediator or a bailiff if you want one.

Court fees

How much the court fees are, and who has to pay them, depend on the case.

If you have a low income, you can apply to your municipality for special assistance (bijzondere bijstand) to pay the fees. Your municipality will decide if you can get the special assistance. For more information, contact your municipality.



Help with paying the costs

If you cannot pay for a lawyer and/or a mediator, or if you can only pay some of the cost, you may be able to get a subsidy from the Legal Aid Board. This is called subsidised mediation or legal aid (rechtsbijstand). How much money you get in the subsidy depends on your income and what you own.



Fees and expenses




Lawyers decide how much their services cost. This means that different lawyers can charge very different fees. In your first meeting with your lawyer, ask for an estimate of the costs and ask what expenses system he or she uses.


The number of mediation meetings you need depends on how soon you and the other people who are involved in the conflict can agree on a solution. Different mediators charge different hourly rates. Some mediators charge a fee to start the process.


Bailiffs charge fixed fees for a summons, a seizure and other legal duties (‘official acts’ or ambtshandelingen). There is a law that says how much these things must cost.


Experts are paid for what they do. Their expenses can also include the cost of their travel to the hearing. The person who calls in the expert pays these costs.


In criminal cases and cases about immigration detention, the court calls in an interpreter and the court pays that interpreter. In all other cases, the people who are involved in the case must arrange for an interpreter if they need one. They must also pay the interpreter.


Witnesses get paid for the time they spend on the case, their travel expenses and any other costs they have to pay so that they can contribute to the case. The person who calls the witness pays these costs.



Repaying costs



Repaying costs to the opposing party

In a civil case, the judge can order the person who lost the case to repay some or all of the opposing party’s costs. This is called a cost order (proceskostenveroordeling). The cost award includes the court fees and some of the lawyer’s costs.

Reclaiming costs from an administrative body

If you win your case, the administrative body usually has to repay your legal costs. This is called a cost order (proceskostenveroordeling). This cost order includes a fixed (forfaitair) amount of money for the lawyer’s costs. The administrative body will also repay the court fees that you have paid.



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