Has the payment term expired and has the debtor failed to pay? The creditor will send a reminder in that case. This is a written demand to pay the amount due within a new set term. A debt collection agency or a bailiff can also send reminders.


A notice is a judicial notice. Examples include the notice of a public sale or notice of eviction/to vacate the property.


A lawyer conducts legal proceedings in court. He is responsible for the court case and ensures that all the necessary documents are submitted to the court in a timely manner. He also speaks to the judge on your behalf.

General terms & conditions

General terms and conditions are provisions that are laid down in writing. These provisions regulate the agreement. This agreement can be concluded between entrepreneurs themselves or between entrepreneurs and consumers. The provisions in the terms & conditions may concern the warranty/guarantee, liability, the term for withdrawal from the contract, the method of payment or, for example, how to submit a complaint. Once you have drawn up your terms and conditions, there is no need to review them with your customers every time.

Alternative dispute resolution

Alternative dispute resolution is a process designed to settle disputes without resorting to litigation. Rather than an alternative to the existing laws and legal procedures, it is a supplement to them. Examples include:

Arbitration: In arbitration, an arbitrator (referee) is involved in the case. Arbitration assumes that the parties involved decide to submit to dispute settlement on the basis of equivalence;

Mediation: Mediation is used in conflicts or in a situation where there is a reasonable risk of a dispute, in which a neutral expert, the mediator, oversees the negotiations between the parties in order to arrive at a joint solution based on their interests.



Form of dispute settlement in which one or more arbitrators (referees), appointed by the parties themselves, rule on the case, rather than a judge.


A judgement is a verdict by a judge. A judgement is pronounced by the court or the Supreme Court. A ruling by the district judge/justice of the peace.

Court order

The ruling in any proceedings that start with a petition, e.g., divorce, alimony or administration, is called a court order. The only exception to this is the petition for bankruptcy, in which case the ruling is called a judgement. A court order is a court decision that specifically relates to one person or a group of persons. A court order is not generally applicable.


The seizure of certain items by a bailiff. This is only possible after obtaining an enforceable title such as an enforcement order, a judgement or a court order. Examples of this include attachment of movable property, but wage garnishment or attachment of a bank account.

Account preservation order

The petition which a creditor uses to request permission from the preliminary relief judge for the preservation of bank accounts. An account preservation order must state, among other things, the nature and extent of the creditor's claim, the nature of the attachment to be imposed, and in some cases also include a substantiation of the fear of embezzlement by the debtor. An account preservation order must be submitted by a lawyer. The Attachment Syllabus provides further information about the requirements for an account preservation order

Attachment-exempt threshold (Beslagvrije voet, BVV)

Het gedeelte van het periodieke inkomen waar geen beslag op gelegd kan worden. Sinds 1 januari 2021 geldt er een nieuwe berekening van de beslagvrije voet. Met een rekentool kunt de berekening van uw beslagvrije voet zelf controleren. U heeft daar de modelmededeling voor nodig die u heeft ontvangen van de beslaglegger.

The part of the debtor’s periodic income that cannot be seized. Since 1 January 2021, the attachment-exempt threshold is calculated differently. You can calculate your attachment-exempt threshold yourself with a calculation tool. You will need the model notification that you received from the attaching party for this.

The new calculation of the attachment-exempt threshold uses an automated calculation module that calculates the attachment-exempt threshold on the basis of data from the UWV Policy Administration, the Personal Records Database (BRP) and the Tax Authorities. If necessary, the bailiff can manually enter additional and deviating data into the calculation module.

More information about how to use the calculation tool can be found here.

The calculation tool with which you can calculate your attachment-exempt threshold can be found here.


A notification is a judicial notification by a bailiff of documents and communications to the debtor.

Btag tariffs (Dutch bailiffs’ fees)

Fixed rates apply to the costs that a debtor must reimburse for the official duties of a bailiff. This concerns, for example, the costs charged by the bailiff for a summons or the costs for the execution of a court order. The bailiff’s official duties are described in the 'Bailiffs’ Fees Decree' (Btag). The decree specifies which costs the bailiff must pass on to the debtor. The Btag is based on the Bailiffs’ Act and the Civil Procedure Code of the Netherlands. Fixed tariffs apply for the bailiffs’ official duties. These tariffs are adjusted annually. (source KBvG)


Trying to resolve the matter without the intervention of a judge or coercive measures.


The Basisregistratie Personen (BRP)/Personal Records Database contains the personal data of all people who live in the Netherlands. And of people living abroad who have a relationship with the Dutch authorities, for example because they temporarily study or work in the Netherlands.

Municipalities keep personal data of citizens in the BRP. When someone gets married, has a child or moves house, this is recorded. If someone moves to another municipality, the personal data move with that person.

Rules apply to the authorisation to use or view data in the BRP. These are set out in the Dutch Municipal Personal Records Database Act (Wet BRP). Privacy protection and security are important aspects of the law. 

Appearance in court

By order of the judge, the parties must appear in person before the judge. The judge does this to obtain information about the dispute in order to try to resolve it amicably (without a court decision). The judge sets a date for this hearing.

Statement of defence

A defendant’s (the debtor) written answer or reply to the summons. Precautionary attachment The attachment that aims to protect objects for recourse in the event that an enforcement order is not available and there is a fear of embezzlement of the object of recourse. This must be requested through a lawyer, who shall appeal to the president of the court for permission for precautionary attachment.

Precautionary attachment

Seizure of goods ordered by a judge, in anticipation of a ruling on a dispute. Precautionary attachment prevents the party under attachment from disposing of the above before the court has ruled on the main proceedings. This gives the creditor more certainty that the debtor still has sufficient assets to be able to collect a claim after the judge's ruling.


A determination by the bailiff of what becomes known to him from his own observation, or what he himself observes. The bailiff will draw up a legal document, the official report of the determination. This can be used as (additional) evidence for example.

Cumulative attachment

In the event of more than one attachment on one asset, e.g., on wages, the amounts for which attachment is made in the various cases are added up, after which the first attaching party distributes this pro rata, i.e., each creditor receives proportionate compensation, e.g., claim Timmerman Pieterse €1,000.00, claim Auto+ €500.00, the debtor pays €300.00/month under the attachment, Pieterse receives 2/3 and therefore €200.00 whereas Auto+ receives €100.00.


Person appointed by the court to act on behalf of someone who is legally incapacitated (is placed under guardianship). 2. In bankruptcy proceedings, the curator/official receiver is the person who monetises the bankrupt party’s assets and distributes them among the creditors.


A summons is a written notice that the person summoned (the debtor) must appear in court.


A debtor is the person who owes an amount to the claimant (client).

Third-party judgement, Third-party attachment

The seizure by a bailiff of assets (e.g., wages or an apartment, etc.) of the debtor that are in the possession of a third party. Third-party attachment is an official administrative act for which the bailiff must draw up an official report.

Third-party attachment

An attachment of the debtor's property or funds that are held by third parties. For example, attachment of wages, benefits or goods that someone else is keeping on the debtor’s behalf. Third-party attachment is made by a bailiff on the creditor’s behalf.

Descente/site visit examination

Site visit by the judge. The judge determines in court proceedings that he will visit the site to which the dispute relates to form a better judgement.


A bailiff is appointed by the Crown and is charged with a number of statutory duties. Examples include issuing summons, writs, organising evictions, seizures and foreclosure sales. An apprentice bailiff is not appointed by the Queen, but he is assigned to an appointed bailiff under whose responsibility he carries out bailiff's duties. An apprenticeship is granted by the Minister of Justice for an indefinite period or for a specific period.


A collection of data from the client and the debtor that relate to a specific item or person.


A second written response from the defendant (debtor) to the plaintiff's first rebuttal (statement of defence).

Enforcement order

An enforceable order to pay without the need for judicial intervention, Enforcement orders can only be issued by certain bodies.

Sole trader

A company in which the entrepreneur’s private assets and the assets of the business form one whole. Creditors can recover their claim from the total assets. The company must be registered in the trade register.


Claim of the creditor against the debtor.


The person who initiates legal proceedings.


The execution of judgements, orders, enforcement orders and deeds. Examples of this include the attachment of movable property followed by public sale, eviction or third-party attachment.

Execution proceedings

A dispute relating to the execution of an order, e.g., a court order.

Executory attachment

Action whereby the bailiff removes certain assets or funds from the power of the losing party to ensure that the person in whose favour the court found can recover his debts or assets.

Execution order

Format for the copy of a court judgement enabling the bailiff to enforce the judgement. A judgement in an execution order will always begin with the words ‘In the name of the King’.


This is the general name for the official document that the bailiff presents to the person concerned in person or deposits at his home address in a closed envelope.

A writ is an official report of a bailiff's official action: seizing, making certain observations, or serving a summons or another procedural document.

The writ serves as proof that a document has been received, with due observance of the legal formalities.

The law offers bailiffs various options for serving a writ: to the person concerned, to a member of their household or to certain other persons. If none of these options are feasible, the bailiff will leave a copy of the writ in a sealed envelope in the letterbox.


Bankruptcy refers to the judicial attachment of a debtor's assets. At the request of the debtor himself or of one or more creditors, the court declares bankruptcy in a judgement. The court also appoints an official receiver and a bankruptcy judge. The official receiver manages the insolvent estate and is responsible for settling debts. The bankruptcy judge supervises the official receiver.

Salary of the authorised representive

The salary of an authorized representative in court proceedings: the salary is due when the summons is served. One of the parties can be ordered to pay the salary of the other’s authorised representative. The amount of the salary depends on the scope of the case and the amount of work performed. A standard tariff is applied that is based on agreements made with  district judges. A district judge has the power to restrict the salary. In general, the salary does not cover the actual fees.


See Bailiff

Bailiff's Act

Act in which the office of the bailiff is regulated, the powers, obligations, appointment and dismissal, secondary activities, disciplinary action, etc.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution is a process designed to settle disputes without resorting to litigation. Rather than an alternative to the existing laws and legal procedures, it is a supplement to them. Examples include: Arbitration. In arbitration, an arbitrator (referee) is involved in the case. Arbitration assumes that the parties involved decide to submit to dispute settlement on the basis of equivalence. Mediation is used in conflicts or in a situation where there is a reasonable risk of a dispute, in which a neutral expert, the mediator, oversees the negotiations between the parties in order to arrive at a joint solution based on their interests.

Court Registrar

The person who keeps records of the court proceedings and assists the judge in writing out the decision.

Court registration fees

Amount to be paid to a court when initiating civil or administrative proceedings to reimburse the costs of the judge, court registrar, etc.


The constitution sets out the fundamental rights and duties of citizens, and the powers of parliament, the ministers and the King. It states how municipalities and provinces must function, how laws are established and how the judiciary works.


The copy of the judgement, which the party, in whose favour the judge has found, receives.


If one of the parties in court proceedings does not agree with the ruling, he can in many cases appeal to a ‘higher’ court, which will reassess a case on the merit of the objections submitted. In order to be able to appeal the decision of a district court, however, a claim must exceed €1,750.00.

Joint and several liability

Someone who is jointly and severally liable is jointly and severally liable together with one or more persons for a specific debt. This means that each of the jointly and severally liable persons can be held individually liable for the whole, e.g., two persons have an account with the bank. The agreement stipulates that both debtors are jointly and severally liable. Following a debit balance, it transpires that one debtor has no money at all and the other does. The bank can recover the debit balance from the debtor who has money. The latter, who has paid the debt in full, can then claim half of the debt from the debtor who has no money.

Principal sum

The amount of money owed, excluding the interest and surcharges calculated thereon for costs incurred.

Debt collection

Collecting a monetary claim without the intervention of a judge (extrajudicial).

Notice of default

A written statement from the creditor to his debtor. This notice states that the debtor has defaulted and that he is formally held liable for the damage suffered by the creditor as a result of the failure to pay.


When a person or company is unable to meet its financial obligations. Sometimes precedes bankruptcy.


All previous judgements. Jurisprudence serves as a guideline for decisions in later, similar cases.

Iustitia, Lady Justice

The ancient Roman goddess representing the virtue of justice. Her attributes are a blindfold, scales and a sword.

District court formula

Agreements between the district judges on the method for calculating the compensation due in the event of the dissolution of an employment contract.

Interlocutory proceedings

Procedure to obtain a quick decision from the court in an urgent case. This is a preliminary ruling. After this, the parties can still submit the case to the court (the ‘main proceedings’).


Do you have a dispute with your bailiff or a complaint? Submit it in writing to the bailiff’s office. The bailiff’s office will process your complaint and will inform you about its outcome. Are you unable to resolve your differences? In that case, you can submit your complaint to the Chamber of Bailiffs.


The judge is ‘passive’ in civil law. This means that he only decides on the points of dispute that the parties themselves bring forward and adopts a passive attitude. In criminal and administrative proceedings, on the other hand, the judge takes the lead, playing an active role. He investigates the case presented to him.

Wage garnishment

Wage garnishment is a form of third-party attachment: attachment by the employer of the debtor’s wages. Wage garnishment is carried out by the bailiff on the creditor’s behalf.


Alternative method for settling disputes out of court. Also called alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Amicable (collection)

In the amicable (also referred to as extrajudicial) collection process, the parties try to resolve the case without the intervention of the court or coercive measures.

Amicable settlement

Agreement reached out of court.


May not be considered by a judge in proceedings. The inadmissibility is determined by the court, for example because a case has been lying around for too long or because the term within which the appeal should have been received has been exceeded. In criminal law, the Public Prosecution’s case can also be deemed inadmissible if, for example, the investigation and prosecution were not conducted properly.

Public writ

A writ to be served on someone without a known domicile or place of residence is served on the public prosecutor's office at the court of the place where the case will be heard. In addition, an abbreviated version of the writ must be published in the newspaper. The notice period for such a summons is three months. In the event that the defendant has no known place of residence or domicile in the Netherlands, but in Europe, the writ will be served in accordance with the regulations included in, among other things, the European Service Regulation.


A bailiff may force the debtor to vacate immovable property (a building) if the debtor defaults. Eviction is only possible with a court order (judgement of the justice of the peace/district judge). The bailiff removes all goods that do not belong to the relevant building from that building and places them on the street. These goods are then removed by the municipality and stored or disposed of as waste. People and animals that are present in the building are also evicted from it. Eviction does not cancel the debt of the debtor: the monetary claim is maintained and increased with the bailiff’s fees.


Service refers to the official delivery by the bailiff of attachment documents or summons to the person whose assets have been attached.


The chair of a court, a court of appeal and of the Supreme Court is called president. The judge who presides over a session of a court or court is also called president..


A prosecutor is a legal representative in a civil lawsuit. If a lawyer has to plead in proceedings that are not held in his own district, he will engage a colleague who is registered in this district: the prosecutor. This lawyer ensures that all necessary procedural documents reach the court and the first lawyer. The latter remains responsible for the lawsuit and also pleads the case in court.

Legal costs

Salaries and advances of lawyers and prosecutors and further (necessary) court costs as well as the authorised representative’s salary.


Judges and public prosecutors. The law distinguishes between sitting magistrature (the judges) and standing magistrature (the public prosecutors). The judge remains seated during the hearing, the public prosecutor speaks while standing.


The rebuttal is the answer of the claimant to the defendant’s statement of defence in legal proceedings.


The person who files a claim.

Court roll

A list of the cases to be heard while the court is in session, indicating which documents must be exchanged between the parties.

Salary of the authorised representative

The salary of the authorised representative in proceedings. The salary is due when the summons is served. One of the parties may be ordered to pay the salary of the other’s representative. The amount of the salary depends on the scope of the case and the amount of work performed. A standard fee is applied that is based on agreements made with district judges. A district court has the authority to authorise the salary. The salary generally does not cover the authorised representative’s actual fees.


The debtor is the person who has not fulfilled a payment obligation towards a client.


A summation is a summons to pay the sum due.

Duty to declare

The duty of the claimant to state the claim, as well as the defence advanced by the defendant against the claim and the grounds therefore in the summons.

Suspension of payment

Legal deferment of payment.

Grace period

The court may include in a judgement that the tenant will be given a maximum of one month to fulfil his obligations under the lease. If the tenant fails to do this, the lease is dissolved. Civil Code Art. 5:1623 n lid 2.


Legal basis, for example judgement, notarial deed, enforcement order or decision


Decision of the Council for Legal Aid by which a litigant is assigned legal counsel for specific proceedings.

Executable with immediate effect

If the conviction has been declared provisionally enforceable in a title, this means that the order can be executed with immediate effect and continue regardless of whether it is challenged (e.g. appeal or opposition).

Vennootschap onder firma (V.O.F.)

Two or more partners jointly run a company under one common name. A v.o.f. must be registered in the trade register. While a v.o.f. has its own assets, it is not a legal person. This means that its creditors can recover any claims both from the company’s assets and from the private assets of the partners. The partners are jointly and severally liable for company debts.

Limitation period

A general limitation period of 20 years applies, insofar as no other limitation period is stipulated by law. In most cases, however, a legal claim expires after 5 years, or even less. When this period starts to run depends on the nature of the legal claim. The main limitation periods are explained below:

  • Limitation period of 5 years for legal actions to fulfil a commitment. A legal claim for fulfilment of a contractual obligation (such as, for example, a loan agreement) lapses 5 years after the claim has become due and payable. The claim for delivery of an item that has already been paid for, which has not yet been delivered, also lapses after 5 years (Article 3:307 paragraph 1 of the Dutch Civil Code). Legal proceedings for payment of interest on sums of money, annuities, dividends, rents, and everything that must be paid within one year or within a shorter period of time, expire 5 years after the due date (Article 3:308 of the Dutch Civil Code).
  • Claim for damages or payment of a fine. A legal claim to claim damages or to pay an agreed penalty lapses 5 years after the day on which the injured party became aware of the damage or the claimability of the penalty and with the person liable for it, and in any event after 20 years have lapsed (Article 3:310 paragraph 1 of the Dutch Civil Code). Because this can take quite some time, the law stipulates that the claim will in any case lapse 20 years after the claim became due and payable (with some exceptions, such as environmental pollution, sexual offences and damages or death).
  • Deviating limitation periods: for example, redundancy law, tax law and consumer purchases. Various special limitation periods apply, such as in redundancy law, tax law and consumer purchases. A claim for payment of the purchase price in a consumer purchase expires after 2 years (Article 7:28 of the Dutch Civil Code) for example.

In absentia

Failure to appear (in absentia) in legal proceedings. In that case, the judge rules in favour of the opposing party unless the claim is declared unfounded or unlawful by the court.


Objection to a verdict that someone can file who has been convicted in absentia (failed to appear in court).


A judgement is a decision of a judge in summons proceedings.


The total of the principal sum, plus interest and surcharges for the costs incurred in legal proceedings.

Legal interest

The interest that is legally owed in the case of late payment of a sum of money.


The Debt Rescheduling Scheme for Natural Persons Act offers natural persons (persons who do not have their own company) with financial problems a prospect of a debt-free future. This procedure is comparable to bankruptcy. A judge decides on the continuation of the debt rescheduling scheme, the amount of the repayments and the duration of the repayment scheme. Important conditions for admission are that the debts were incurred in good faith and that a voluntary agreement on repayment is no longer possible.

Judicial authorities

The judges. See also Judiciary.

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