Summary proceedings

Summary proceedings are used to obtain an interim or provisional judgment from Dutch courts. A provisional judgment can accomplish a number of things including, the cancelation of a provisional attachment or the creation of an injunction.

Although these judgments have a provisional nature, frequently both parties accept a provisional judgment as final with neither party appealing the decision nor commencing a procedure on merits.

How does it work?

To initiate the action, the lawyer preparing the summary proceedings on behalf of the plaintiff presents a draft writ of summons to the court to request a date and time to conduct the summary proceedings. After the court has selected the date and time, the process server will serve the writ of summons on the defendant.

Oral proceedings then take place at the date and time selected by the court. The court hears the arguments for the attorneys for both parties and will typically determine if there is an opportunity for an amicable settlement. If there is a possibility for settlement, the court may adjourn the session to allow the parties to discuss settlement. If there is not an opportunity to settle the dispute the court will issue its interim judgment based on the arguments presented by the attorneys. These decisions are typically issued two weeks after the summary proceeding.



The following costs and expenses are always incurred in summary proceedings in the Netherlands:

  • Court fees: minimum € 619 and maximum € 3,903. The court fees are determined based on the monetary value of the dispute.
  • Process server: € 90
  • Fees ABLD: fixed fee of € 9,950 for preparing (or defending against) the application, the court filing, coordination with the process server and communication with the client regarding the proceedings.

Not included are cost of translating documents that are not already in English or Dutch, nor negotiations with the defendant or his attorney to reach an amicable settlement. In certain circumstances, a plaintiff situated outside the European Union may, upon request of the defendant, be ordered to post security for possible litigation costs that would be due if the plaintiff loses his case. The bond is typically around € 5,000 which is returned in full if the judgment does not include an obligation to indemnify the prevailing party.


The main risks of requesting summary proceedings are:

  • Inadmissibility of the application in summary proceedings: Not every claim or application is appropriate or admissible for a decision in a summary proceeding. In order to qualify for a decision in a summary proceeding, a claimant must demonstrate that the matter is urgent and can only request provisional relief. Failure to do so will result in the judge declaring the case inadmissible and will result in the claimant's responsibility for the legal costs of the other party, although these awards rarely exceed € 5,000.
  • Denial/dismissal of application: As with any legal proceeding, there is a risk that a judge will issue an interim judgment denying the application, which would result in the claimant being liable for the legal costs of the other party.
  • Appeal: While interim judgments are typically accepted as final by the parties, they are subject to provisional appeal at the Court of Appeals and provisional appeal at the Supreme Court. As a result, legal proceedings could continue for a number of years before a final resolution is reached. Furthermore, a decision reached in summary proceedings can still be followed by a procedure on the merits, and will not affect the decision reached following a procedure on the merits.