There are no general regulations on this subject under Dutch civil procedural law. However, videoconferencing is not precluded and consequently is possible in these cases under the law.
Under civil law, videoconferencing is regularly used as an alternative to letters rogatory.
If a person can be examined under civil procedural law, this is also possible in principle by videoconference. There are no specific provisions under civil procedural law.
There are no rules on specific restrictions. The national rules of civil procedure apply.
No specific rules apply to examination by videoconference. The national rules of civil procedure apply. The rule is that persons must be examined in court. Exceptions may be made if a witness is ill or otherwise unable to travel to court (Article 175 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Wetboek van Burgerlijke Rechtsvordering)).
Examination of a witness by a Dutch court by videoconference is deemed equivalent to a live transmission of an ordinary hearing. By law, a court transcript is made of witness hearings by an examining magistrate. The same rules apply to hearings by videoconference and therefore they must also be recorded by a court transcript. The law does not prohibit an image or sound recording being made in addition to the court transcript, but this recording is not to be equated with the court transcript.
Under future law, the judge may decide to make an image or sound recording of the oral hearing to replace the paper court transcript. On that basis, a recording can also be made, if required, of the court transcript of a witness hearing.
If the requested court is in the Netherlands, the hearing takes place in Dutch. No special rules apply in this respect. The Dutch implementing legislation does allow for a competent authority to impose conditions for the direct taking of evidence which it considers useful or necessary for reasons of due process.
Dutch civil procedural law makes no provision for special arrangements for interpreters. In civil cases in the Netherlands, the parties must in principle provide their own interpreters.
Under the Dutch implementing legislation the requested court can determine which of the parties is responsible for the summons resulting from a request to take evidence.
Summons not carried out by one of the parties are undertaken by the registrar of the requested court. Under Dutch civil procedural law, witnesses must be summoned at least one week (under future law, at least 10 days) before the hearing.
The costs for the special form and communications technology are not borne by the parties. These costs are not passed on under Dutch law. They are borne by the State, from which reimbursement can be requested pursuant to Article 18(2) and Article 10(4) of Regulation (EC) No 1206/2001.
Under Article 17(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1206/2001, where the direct taking of evidence entails a person being heard, the requesting court informs that person that the performance takes place on a voluntary basis. No further requirements apply.
Under Dutch civil procedural law, it is for the judge to check identity (Article 177 of the Code of Civil Procedure).
The judge asks witnesses to state their surname, first name, age, profession and place of residence. They are also questioned about any relationship to the parties (consanguinity or affinity, employment).
Under Dutch civil procedural law, the oath or affirmation is administered by the judge before the hearing. The witness states that his or her testimony will be the truth and nothing but the truth. Witnesses who deliberately do not tell the truth are committing perjury. Direct taking of evidence is performed in accordance with the law of the requesting State.
An international request for legal assistance in which videoconferencing is used is arranged with the Dutch judiciary’s ICT support staff (SPIRIT). They implement the technical and logistical arrangements.
The competent authority will be able to request this information.
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