Dutch courts can reduce contractually agreed penalties to an amount that is not unacceptable

Introduction You think you have made clear arrangements about the exclusivity of your supplier’s services. The supplier has agreed to service your company only. You have even agreed unequivocal penalty clauses under which the supplier pays a penalty for every breach and another one for every day the breach continues. Unfortunately, the supplier breaches the exclusivity clause, forcing you to … Read more

Can acts and statements from an unauthorised representative qualify as acknowledgment of liability and interrupt a limitation period?

Introduction On 26 January 2018, the Supreme Court delivered a judgment (ECLI:NL:HR:2018:108) about the interruption of the limitation period for a claim for damages. The key element in this case was whether the acts and statements of an insurer and a loss adjuster qualified as an acknowledgement of liability and, if so, whether this acknowledgement could be attributed to the … Read more

Who is a consumer? The dynamic approach to the concept of ‘consumer’ under the Brussels I Regulation

On 25 January 2018, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) rendered a preliminary ruling in a case between Austrian citizen Maximilian Schrems and online social network Facebook. The ruling is important for two reasons. First, the ECJ approved a dynamic approach to the concept of ‘consumer’ under the Brussels I Regulation. Secondly, the ECJ clarified that the special consumer forum … Read more

Termination clauses in agreements and Dutch standards of reasonableness and fairness

How can a party terminate an agreement? With the exception of certain specific agreements (i.e. employment or rent), the Dutch Civil Code (DCC) does not provide rules on termination as such. Whether and under what conditions a party is entitled to terminate an agreement is determined by the agreement itself and the general standards of reasonableness and fairness (“redelijkheid en … Read more

Closing-down sale: turnover tax incurred as a consequence of goods being sold to consumers by way of summary execution does not qualify as estate debt (boedelschuld)

1. Introduction The Amsterdam District Court requested a preliminary ruling with regard to turnover tax incurred as a consequence of a sale taking place by way of summary execution (Amsterdam District Court 5 July 2017, ECLI:NL:RBAMS:2017:4726, answered by the Supreme Court on 15 December 2017, ECLI:NL:HR:2017:3149). 2. Facts Geddes & Gilmore Retail B.V. and Geddes & Gilmore Wholesale B.V. (together … Read more

Supreme Court confirms existing case law – payments in cash for unused leave due to the bankruptcy of an employer are still considered to be estate debts

Introduction On 17 November 2017, the Supreme Court confirmed the existing case law that if employees are entitled to payment in cash for unused leave due to the bankruptcy of their employer, such claims are considered to be estate debts, regardless of when the entitlement to such leave accrued (ECLI:NL:HR:2017:2907). This ruling was given as a response to a request … Read more

Witness examination and the withdrawal of a judge

In its decision of 24 November 2017 (ECLI:NL:HR:2017:3016), the Dutch Supreme Court confirmed that a judge is allowed to critically interrogate a witness and remind a witness of his oath. Such action is not an indication that a judge is not impartial or independent. Fire in a multi-tenant business building A fire destroyed a multi-tenant business building in the Dutch … Read more

Fire, furniture and strict liability for buildings used for business

Persons using a building in the course of running a business might be liable for damage caused by a defect in the building on the basis of strict liability. Such liability exists if there is a link between the origin of the defect and the running of the business. In its decision of 24 November 2017 (ECLI:NL:HR:2017:3016), the Dutch Supreme … Read more

Interest accrued during a suspension of payments does count in bankruptcy

On 24 November 2017, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that in the event a suspension of payments is converted into a bankruptcy, interest that accrues after the suspension of payments was granted, but before the debtor was declared bankrupt, can be presented to the bankruptcy trustee for verification (HR 24 November 2017, ECLI:NL:HR:2017:2991). The reason for this ruling was a … Read more