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How to enforce foreign judgments in the Netherlands: click here

How to enforce NCC judgments

NCC judgments, like all other judgments issued by Dutch courts, are enforceable in the European Union (on the basis of the Brussels I Recast Regulation) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands (the Netherlands, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, St Martin, St Eustace and Saba) without any declaration of enforceability being required. This means that the judgment is immediately enforceable by the competent enforcement authority. In the Netherlands, the bailiff is the competent authority.

If the court directs that a judgment is enforceable notwithstanding appeal, in accordance with current practice, the successful party is authorised to enforce the judgment. There is no need to await the outcome of any appeal that may be lodged.

The enforcement of an NCC judgment outside the EU is governed by conventions to which the Netherlands is a party and by general private international law in the jurisdiction where enforcement is sought. In general these conventions require a declaration of enforceability by the court in that jurisdiction.

The Netherlands is a party to several conventions that allow enforcement in simplified proceedings:

  • the 2019 Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters,
  • the 2007 Lugano Convention on jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters,
  • the 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements,
  • the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods By Road,
  • the Convention on the Law Applicable to Trusts and on their Recognition,
  • the 1971 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (relevant only for Kuwait and Albania),
  • the 1954 Convention on Civil Procedure (relevant for the enforcement of judgments regarding costs of litigation) and
  • the Agreement between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of Suriname regarding the mutual recognition and enforcement of judicial decisions and authentic instruments in civil matters.

How to enforce foreign judgments in the Netherlands

A foreign judgment is enforceable in the Netherlands under:

  1. The Brussels Regulation or another EU Regulation that allows enforcement.

  2. A bilateral or other convention that allows enforcement (see list above).

  3. Principles of comity.

Convention or EU Regulation

Under the Brussels I Regulation (recast) or other applicable EU regulations, judgments issued by a court in an EU jurisdiction may be enforced in the Netherlands without any declaration of enforceability being required. To enforce judgments issued by a court in a non-EU jurisdiction, a declaration of enforceability is required under most applicable conventions. The declaration may be obtained by submitting an application to the district court in the district where the enforcement is to take place or where the judgment debtor is domiciled. A judgment on the application is usually given within a few weeks.

Principles of comity

An action may be brought before the competent court as determined by the ordinary rules, seeking relief in accordance with a foreign judgment.

The court will grant relief on this basis only if:

  • the foreign court had jurisdiction under generally accepted rules (e.g., not forum actoris) (a);
  • the trial was fair (b); 
  • there is no public policy violation (c); 
  • there is no irreconcilable conflict with another judgment involving the same cause of action and the same parties (d); and 
  • the foreign judgment is enforceable in the jurisdiction that issued it (e).

If these requirements are met, the court will, as a rule, issue a judgment along the lines of the foreign judgment (Gazprom).

There may be a public policy violation (c) where the alleged failure to pay debts, resulting in the foreign judgment, was asserted under false pretenses (Yukos). Public policy is reflected by the European Convention on Human Rights and similar documents.

The requirement under (e) above is not met where an appeals court in the jurisdiction that issued the judgment has annulled the judgment or granted a stay of enforcement, or where the judgment according to its terms must be enforced within a specific period of time, and this period of time has not yet commenced or has expired (ECJ, 29 April 1999, case C-267/97).

The Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of several regions (“countries”): the Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao and St Martin. Furthermore, Bonaire, St Eustace and Saba are public entities with a status comparable to a municipality in the Netherlands. Judgments from these regions or entities are considered as domestic and are enforceable in the Netherlands.