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Online processing of cases and e-communication with courts

Netherlands
Content provided by:
European Judicial Network
European Judicial Network (in civil and commercial matters)

1 Is it possible to initiate court proceedings via the internet?

The Dutch Parliament has adopted legislation which enables and even requires civil and administrative proceedings to be conducted electronically. This legislation is to be phased in from 2017 to 2021. In 2017, electronic proceedings are possible in asylum and custody cases, as well as in civil claims with compulsory legal representation, brought before the courts of Central Netherlands and Gelderland.

Administrative court proceedings are possible electronically via the Digital Service Desk for Administrative Law (Digitaal loket bestuursrecht) and administrators/receivers can submit statements of accounts and discharges electronically via the Sub-district Digital Service Desk (Digitaal loket kanton) (http://www.rechtspraak.nl/).

2 If so, for what types of cases is it available? Are any proceedings available exclusively via the internet?

From September 2017, electronic proceedings before the courts of Central Netherlands and Gelderland are mandatory for civil claims with compulsory legal representation. In spring 2018 this is expected to apply throughout the Netherlands for this type of case. For all other proceedings, the legislation enabling proceedings to be conducted electronically is to be phased in by 2021.

3 Is the facility available at all times (i.e. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or just during specific hours? If so, what are those hours?

Electronic proceedings are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The helpdesk at the judicial service centre (rechtsspraakservicecentrum) can be accessed electronically and by telephone between 8:00 and 20:00.

4 Should the details of the claim be provided in any particular format?

Yes. An action is initiated by submitting an originating document (procesinleiding) via the judicial service web portal.

5 How is transmission and storage of data secured?

6 Is it necessary to use any kind of electronic signature and/or time record?

Yes, electronic identification is necessary for the submission of documents. Lawyers use their lawyer’s pass for this purpose, while options available to citizens include use of their DigiD login code or electronic ID (businesses). The law states which means of identification are permitted.

7 Are court fees payable? If so, how can they be paid and are they different to those for non-electronic procedures?

Yes, court fees are payable in all proceedings. Lawyers maintain a current account with the judicial system. In the case of electronic proceedings, court fees are paid electronically. In the absence of payment, no (further) progress can be made in initiating the proceedings.

8 Is it possible to withdraw a claim that has been initiated via the internet?

Yes, the law and the rules of procedure of the judicial system stipulate how to withdraw the claim.

9 If the claimant initiates proceedings via the internet is it possible and/or compulsory for the defendant to respond using the internet as well?

Yes. If the legislation on electronic proceedings applies, the defendant can respond online. If the defendant has a lawyer, the response must be made online. If the defendant has the right to act on his/her own behalf, a response on paper is also permissible.

10 In terms of the electronic procedure what happens if the defendant responds to the claim?

Electronic proceedings are conducted entirely online. The defendant receives e-mail notification of each new document lodged in the electronic case-file. Defendants can add their own documents and consult their case electronically. The court judgment is communicated electronically.

11 In terms of the electronic procedure what happens if the defendant does not respond to a claim?

If the case has been served correctly on the other party, the case can be judged by default for failure to appear. The other party is informed of the procedural steps in writing.

12 Is it possible to submit documents to a court electronically and if so in what type of proceedings and under what conditions is it possible?

See reply to question 1. Submission of messages and documents by e-mail is not permitted because adequate security cannot be guaranteed.

13 Can judicial documents, and particularly judgments, be served via the internet?

No, judicial documents may not be served or notified via the internet. However, many judgments are published at http://www.rechtspraak.nl/ and are assigned an LJN number, enabling them to be easily retrieved. The president of the sitting usually decides whether the judgment must be placed on the aforementioned website. Not all judgments are placed on the internet, but only a selection with judicial relevance or in which there is significant (media) interest.

Names of persons appearing in a judgment are anonymised for privacy reasons. Businesses and individuals involved with the court in a professional capacity are not anonymised.

In cases where proceedings can or must be electronic, the judgment is placed in the electronic case-file. In this way, the judgment is notified to the parties.

14 Can judicial decisions be given electronically?

No, publication on the internet takes place after notification to the parties and therefore after the date of the judgment. See also the reply to question 13.

15 Can an appeal be made and its decision served via the internet?

This is possible only in cases in which proceedings can or must be electronic.

16 Is it possible to initiate enforcement proceedings via the internet?

No.

17 Can the parties or their legal representatives consult on-line cases? If so, how this can be done?

Yes, in cases where proceedings can or must be electronic, the parties can consult the case documents at any time. The parties must have been authorised to do so by means of a recognised login code.

Some forms can be downloaded from the website http://www.rechtspraak.nl/ in PDF format, but these documents too must then be sent by ordinary post to the courts to be included in the proceedings. These documents include forms for separation of property and division of the old-age pension, forms for the modification of parental authority, guardianship of an adult, fiduciary administration of property and mentoring, declaration forms for experts and interpreters, insolvency forms, forms for European order for payment procedures, forms for European small claims procedures and complaint forms in appeal proceedings.

Information which may be relevant in legal proceedings and also information to guarantee the independence of judges is recorded centrally and is available online to the general public via the website http://www.rechtspraak.nl/. This refers to the Central Adult Guardianship Register (Centraal Curateleregister), the Central Insolvency Register (Centraal Insolventieregister), the matrimonial property register (huwelijksgoederenregister) and the register of additional positions held by the judiciary (register met nevenfuncties Rechterlijke Macht), which can all be consulted online.

Last update: 30/11/2017

The national language version of this page is maintained by the respective EJN contact point. The translations have been done by the European Commission service. Possible changes introduced in the original by the competent national authority may not be yet reflected in the translations. Neither the EJN nor the European Commission accept responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to any information or data contained or referred to in this document. Please refer to the legal notice to see copyright rules for the Member State responsible for this page.

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