Preliminary injunctions in The Netherlands

While proceedings before the Netherlands Commercial Court – like any complex litigation – may take months (sometimes even years), they are likely to be considerably faster than in many other jurisdictions.

Dutch procedural law also provides parties with opportunities to request short-term measures (provisional remedies) in preliminary relief proceedings. For example, execution can be suspended temporarily. These proceedings provide for an immediate provisional judgement in commercial civil disputes in urgent cases only and are not aimed at delivering a final judgment. In other words, a preliminary judgment is not aimed at proceeding on the merits of the case, and therefore the outcome of a preliminary judgment may be quite different that a judgment handed in the court proceedings. The time frame in preliminary relief proceedings is short, with judgements generally being handed down within a few weeks.

Requirements for requesting preliminary relief include i) the matter requires an immediate remedy, ii) the provisional measures are requested, and iii) the facts of the matter or legal issue must not be too complex that uncertainty exists.

The most common and significant provisional remedy issued in preliminary relief proceedings include the preliminary mandatory injunction (gebod in kort geding) and the preliminary prohibitory injunction (verbod in kort geding):

  1. Preliminary mandatory injunction: orders the defendant to urgently do something.
  2. Preliminary prohibitory injunction: orders the defendant to immediately refrain from doing something.
  3. Penalty: both the preliminary injunctions stated above can be subject to a penalty if so requested. This penalty acts as an incentive to comply with the order, however the penalty cannot be imposed for monetary claims.

In case of violation of the injunction, the defendant is fined a large sum of money per violation or per day.

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