Dutch judgement or default judgement?
If you are defending yourself in a procedure, you will eventually receive a judgement in default. If you do not appear in the civil proceedings in the Netherlands, the judge (if all formalities have been complied with) will give a default judgment against you. Dutch judgement or default judgement?
Dutch default judgment if you do not appear
Many proceedings start with a summons. This summons must be served to the correct address and must also comply with certain formalities. For example, the summons will state (among other things) by whom you are summoned and when you can report to the court.
If all formalities have been fulfilled and the judge finds that you have not appeared, a default judgment will be issued. A judgement in absentia will follow four weeks later.
Judgement in absentia while claims are unjustified
There are different forms of default judgments. Suppose that you are summoned in a case where a lawyer is mandatory, but you write a letter as defence. The judge will still rule that you did not appear, because a lawyer should have appeared on your behalf. Another possibility is that you put the summons on the big pile and take no action. In that case, you will also be found to have failed to appear. Note: my advice would be to always consult a lawyer. It is also possible that the summons has never reached you and that it is granted in absentia. Suppose you are on holiday for half a year and nobody is taking care of your mail, then there might be a summons in the mail. This will be at your expense and risk.
Verification of claims in absentia
If you do not appear at court, the court’s examination is very limited. The claims of the plaintiff will then almost always be awarded, unless the claims appear to be unlawful or unfounded. In practice, claims are almost always awarded in absentia.
Appeal against the judgement or objection?
In the event of a judgment in default, you may appeal. But what about a judgement in absentia? Then you can oppose the judgement. However, you should be careful, because a default judgment is directly enforceable. This is called “provisionally enforceable”.
Term and course of the opposition procedure.
If you become aware of a default judgment, it is important that you take action as soon as possible. The term for lodging an objection against a default judgment is very short. Not only is the term very short, but also the full defence must be put up immediately. The opposition is introduced by a writ of summons and in this writ of summons the defence must – in short – be put forward. The term for lodging an objection is four weeks after the judgment in absentia has become known to you.
If the judgement is served to you in person, you will be aware of the default judgement from that moment on. However, if (for example) the summons has not been served to you in person, but you are aware of it, the term will also start running. The point is that the period starts to run the moment you have knowledge of the contents of the judgement.
What can I do against a judgement or order in absentia?
I have conducted various opposition proceedings and appeals. If you are faced with a judgement, do not wait and call me, free of obligation. I will be happy to help you.