Law and Compliance in the Netherlands

Overview by

Business Contract

General Observation
You must state precisely the obligations of the vendor and the methods of quality control.
Law Applicable to the Contract
You do not have to be particularly vigilant about the law applicable to the contract and the methods of conflict resolution. Indeed, the Netherlands is a signatory to the Vienna Convention on International Contracts.
Advisable Incoterms
Choose FOB or CIF, or more. Avoid EXW if you do not want to be involved in organizing domestic transport in the Netherlands, as this is quite a complex operation.
Language of Domestic Contract
Dutch, English
Other Laws Which Can Be Used in Domestic Contracts
The laws and courts of America, England and Switzerland provide fair justice and are understandable in English, which is likely to be accepted by your Dutch supplier.

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Independence of Justice
Justice is free and independent.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Foreigners can expect an impartial trial from the country’s judicial system.
The Language of Justice
Dutch and Frisian.
Recourse to an Interpreter
Yes, but no guidelines exist to ensure effective communication between judges, lawyers, and non Dutch / Frisian speaking defendants.
Legal Similarities
Based on the civil law system incorporating French penal theory. The Netherlands accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction but with reservations. Holland being a member of the European Union, the national law in the country has needs to comply with the conditions of the Community legislation.

The Different Legal Codes

Civil Law (including family law, inheritance law, contract law and commercial law) Het Burgelijk Wetboek
Criminal Law Het Wetboek van Strafrecht
Constitutional Law (including laws on the structure of the state) Constitution of the Netherlands
Administrative Law Algemene Wet Bestuursrecht
Checking National Laws Online
All Dutch Laws (Only in Dutch)
Other Useful Resources
Dutch Legal Links
Ministry of Law and Justice
Country Guides
LexMundi, Guide to doing business in Netherlands: legal system.

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The Jurisdictions

The Supreme Court Merely views whether the (Dutch) law has been applied properly
The Council for the Judiciary The Council’s tasks relate to operational matters, budgetary matters and the qualitative aspects of the administration of justice.
The Central Appeals Tribunal Is a board of appeal which is mainly active in legal areas pertaining to social security and the civil service. In these areas it is the highest judicial authority.
Five Courts of Appeal The justices of the Court of Appeal only deal with cases where an appeal has been lodged against the judgement passed by the district court. In addition to criminal and civil cases, the Court of Appeal also deals with all appeals against tax assessments, in its capacity as administrative court.
Nineteen District Courts Made up of a maximum of five sectors: the administrative sector, civil sector, criminal sector and subdistrict sector.

Court Officials

The Netherlands Bar Association (BAR)
Netherlands Bar Association (the Bar) is the public-law professional body for all advocates in the Netherlands.
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