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Supreme Court Litigation

Amidst the complexities of law, it can sometimes be necessary to litigate before the Supreme Court. For Supreme Court proceedings, it is mandatory to enlist the assistance of a specialist Supreme Court litigation attorney. The Supreme Court is not a third instance as such; its role is to assess whether the rules of law have been applied correctly by a lower-instance court.  

Our Supreme Court litigation Team, led by Reinout Oudijk, specialises in bringing proceedings before the Supreme Court and provides Supreme Court opinions in a wide range of civil law areas, such as liability law, contract law, government privatisation law, and expropriation proceedings. Our team assists parties by providing Supreme Court opinions, filing appeals to the Supreme Court when litigation is expected to produce a successful outcome, or defending appeals in the Supreme Court brought by an opposing party. Our Supreme Court Litigation Team also provides assistance in preliminary ruling proceedings and advice on appeal and referral proceedings. Please examples of cases in which our cassation lawyers were involved below. 

Quality assistance in Supreme Court litigation is our top priority. When considering cases for Supreme Court litigation, we work together with the attorneys from lower-instance courts, who are most familiar with the cases. We also provide customisation by working with fixed price agreements or a quick scan, for example, in which a Supreme Court litigation assessment is drawn up on the basis of the most important procedural documents. If you have any questions about Supreme Court litgation, Reinout Oudijk will be delighted to assist.    

Your specialist
Reinout Oudijk

Attorney at law

Call: +31 172 530 250

Practical information regarding supreme court proceedings

Supreme court appeals can be made against final judgments given by a court of appeal or a district court when a normal appeal is out of the question, but an appeal to the Supreme Court is available (in expropriation proceedings, for example). In addition, pure interim judgments from a court of appeal may be appealed if such interim Supreme Court appeals have been filed by one of the parties. If in the operative part (the closing part of the judgment) of an interim judgment, the court of appeal has made a final decision on a specific part of the dispute (referred to as a partial judgment), an appeal to the Supreme Court must be filed immediately.

The time limit for filing a Supreme Court appeal is, in principle, three months from when the lower-instance court handed down the judgment. However, in areas such as expropriation proceedings and bankruptcy law, the appeal period is considerably shorter. A Supreme Court opinion must be obtained before proceedings can be initiated before the Supreme Court. This opinion will describe the chances and possible risks of proceedings before the Supreme Court. It will also include a cost estimate and a prognosis for what may happen after the  proceedings, such as what the expected judicial process would be if the Supreme Court overturned the judgment and referred it to another court (the referral court). 

Following a positive opinion, an appeal to the Supreme Court can be initiated by filing a notice of appeal. This notice of appeal will outline the grounds for the appeal, containing the complaints against the contested judgment. Proceedings before the Supreme Court have a number of important limitations and differences compared with judgments given by lower-instance courts. This is because the Supreme Court is not a third-instance court as such; it will not re-examine the facts of a dispute. It is not the Supreme Court’s remit to re-evaluate the facts established by the lower-instance courts and it does not conduct any fact-finding. It uses the grounds of the appeal to assess whether the law was applied correctly by the lower-instance court (legal complaints) and that no procedural defaults occurred. A procedural default could be an inadequate statement of reasons by the lower-instance court (reasoning complaints). Legal judgments made by the lower-instance courts will be fully assessed by the Supreme Court. Court rulings, such as decisions made by the lower-instance court based on the established facts and circumstances, the interpretation of procedural documents or the valuation of evidence, will be submitted to a limited assessment by the Supreme Court. The assessment centres on whether the reasoning is sufficiently comprehensible. There may also be mixed judgments. Such judgments have an aspect of both a legal judgment and a court judgment.

After the statement of appeal has been filed, parties in writ proceedings will be given the opportunity to argue the case in writing, following which the parties may respond to each other’s arguments. The advocate general will then issue a conclusion, which is an independent and authoritative opinion, to the Supreme Court on how the case should be concluded. The parties can then respond to the conclusion by bailiffs’ letter following which the Supreme Court will issue a judgment. The Supreme Court may dismiss or uphold the appeal. If it is upheld, a referral to another court will usually follow. In some cases, the Supreme Court concludes the case itself. 

Supreme court cases

  • HR 22 March 2024, ECLI:NL:HR:2024:462, RvdW 2024/365 (X/ProRail): Impact of disadvantage for the remaining party when estimating the compensation in expropriation.   
  • HR 16 December 2022, ECLI:NL:HR:2022:1874, NJ 2023/104 (Hedwigepolder): Estimate for compensation in expropriation.  
  • HR 3 July 2020, ECLI:NL:HR:2020:1226, NJ 2020/281: Expropriation and enforceability in stock declaration. 
  • HR 15 April 2020, ECLI:NL:HR:2020:890, NJ 2020/269 (State/X): Cost recovery by the government and the traversal doctrine. 
  • HR 2 October 2020, ECLI:NL:HR:2020:1542 and ECLI:NL:HR:2020:1543, NJ 2020/370 (Gemeente Bergen/X c.s.): The distribution measure in extractable soil components. 
  • HR 27 September 2013, ECLI:NL:HR:2013:CA1731, NJ 2014/100 (De Haas/Lansingerland): Full indemnification in the event of business succession. 
  • HR 22 April 2022, ECLI:NL:HR:2022:628, NJ 2023/143 (X/Utrechts Landschap): Transitional law in leasehold rights. 
  • HR 14 September 2018, ECLI:NL:HR:2018:1672, JOR 2018/320 (VelopA/Bast): Related agreements. 
  • HR 13 July 2018, ECLI:NL:HR:2018:1176, NJ 2020/7: Liability of an NVM estate agent when stating square metres in a sales brochure. 
  • HR 18 May 2018, ECLI:NL:HR:2018:729, NJ 2018/376 (Pieringer/Allianz): Transport liability limit and the ECHR. 
  • HR 16 November 2018, ECLI:NL:HR:2018:2112, NJ 2018/450 (X/Euretco): Claim as trustee and change of claim on appeal.
  • HR 25 April 2018, ECLI:NL:HR:2018:773, NJ 2018/332 (Avonwick/Vi Holding): Seizure law, bringing the claim in the main foreign proceedings.
  • HR 2 February 2018, ECLI:NL:HR:2018:141, NJ 2018/98 (Goglio/SMQ): Covered defence on appeal and termination of a long-term contract.