International law, International debt collection
It can occur that in case of a claim, your debtor is located outside the Netherlands or that one of your foreign entities has a claim against a Dutch debtor. Problems can rise in case your foreign customers are reluctant in timely payments. You also can become involved in negotiations regarding agreements with international and/or cross border aspects. Then knowledge of international regulations becomes relevant.
You have to deal with aspects like, a foreign language, other legislation, cultural differences and often with country specific payment habits. Higher and also additional risks, other than with debtors in your own country, can be anticipated. Sufficient and specific knowledge of foreign procedures and related consequences of the terms and conditions in your contract, is essential and of great importance. Our firm can offer you adequate and appropriate support in these areas.
Traditionally our firm has specialized expertise of international law. It is of the utmost importance to understand which jurisdiction and/or treaty are applicable, which general terms (so-called "Battle of Forms") apply and which Court is authorized for your case. Extensive knowledge of the United Nation Convention On Contracts For The International Sale Of Goods (CISG) (legal.un.org/avl/ha/ccisg/ccisg.html), and/or the Regulation (EC) No 593/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 on the law applicable to contractual obligations (Rome I) are of ultimate importance.
Did you know that in many cases a foreign debtor can be summoned in the place of your registered office? This can be an advantage over several years of court proceedings in countries like Spain and/or Italy. With a European Enforcement title (EET), a Dutch verdict can directly be executed in a foreign country.
There is also the European payment procedure, based upon the Regulation (EC) NO 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and the Council of 12 December 2006 creating a European order for payment procedure. The related procedure, being based upon standard forms, is simplified for cross-border enforcement of monetary claims, not being disputed by the debtor. See: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/justice_freedom_security/judicial_cooperation_in_civil_matters/l16023_en.htm
The new EEX Regulation No 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (Brussels I recast); as ratified on January 10, 2015, has huge consequences for the international business processes in the Netherlands. Implicating that a verdict from an EU country can be enforced in all other EU countries, without judicial authorization, is an enormous adjustment; the so-called "exequatur", the necessity of an injunction in another country, has been eliminated as such. See: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32012R1215&from=NL
This is an important improvement relative to the past. As no other, we can advise you in making the right decision. As stated before, adequate knowledge is of the utmost importance. As such you also can approach us for a second opinion.
International process experience
Due to our extensive international experience, we are able to select the appropriate procedure for you. Even when we cooperate with our foreign partners, we remain your prime contact. Your own dedicated solicitor will guard the progress of the running procedure, follow and facilitate guidance from the Netherlands of all activities and help out with any language barrier.
For more than 20 years, our solicitors work for large Dutch and foreign insurance companies, like Euler Hermes. The French and Spanish Embassies are our customers. With these projects we gained a lot of experience in the field of international law. This is one of our advantages over many other law firms and/or bailiffs.
To share quick and efficient knowledge and experience regarding international problems and questions, our firm is part of an European association of law firms, "EURAVOCAT", with registered offices in the main European cities in 16 countries. With this membership we were able to successfully solve many cases. Where appropriate, we can approach these law firms for all relevant information regarding all legal matters like debtors, remedy possibilities and relevant applicable law.
For more information on our network "EURAVOCAT" , we refer to the official website: www.euravocat.com.
Recovering what is yours!
You've served your client, you've invoiced the job, but you've not been paid.
Dealing with clients who refuse to pay can be a real nuisance. Are you spending too much time chasing outstanding invoices?
We do our utmost to ensure that your debtor ends up paying all outstanding invoices. Besides the principal, we recover costs and interest from the debtor. We focus simply on achieving the best possible result for you.
If we receive a debt collection file, we first check whether it is complete. We need our clients to provide us with a bank statement, a copy of outstanding invoices, any available written orders and order confirmations, general terms and conditions of sale and all correspondence with the debtor.
Next, we consult the records of the Chambers of Commerce for the background of the debtor and, where appropriate, request a cadastral extract to locate any property in the debtor’s name. In the case of a natural person, we ask for an extract from the Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, in order to determine the debtor's actual address. In the Netherlands, only bailiffs and lawyers can request extracts from the Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths.
We then calculate the accrued interest and the extrajudicial collection charges over the outstanding invoices and, on the same day that we receive your debt collection file, we send a summons to the debtor, in which he/she is summoned to pay us into our escrow account within 8 days. In accordance with the guidelines for law firms, this escrow account is held by a Foundation to ensure that the funds we receive from third parties on behalf of our clients are deposited separately in the Foundation and can therefore not be included in the assets of our firm.
If the debtor does not respond, we try to contact him by phone. If no payment follows or if no payment terms are agreed upon, we send a second summons, together with a request to initiate bankruptcy proceedings and a statement to the effect that the request will be submitted if payment is not made immediately.
In the meantime, we request extracts from the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce and the Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths and investigate whether other creditors also have claims against this debtor. In consultation with the client, we decide whether to submit a bankruptcy petition to the court or take other (legal) action. This may include (cantonal or district) court proceedings, interim debt collection procedures and/or the attachment of the debtor’s property and assets.
If the debtor is already bankrupt, we will investigate the remaining options including the possibility of directors' liability.
Our office has its own networks of bailiffs, sources of information and foreign contacts.
For more information on our procedures, ask for our debit memorandum.
We aim for clear and competitive prices. We distinguish between activities in the so-called extrajudicial phase (the period before the case is brought before the court) and activities carried out in the judicial phase. This may seem complicated, but various possibilities must be taken into account, and these are often difficult to predict beforehand.
If the debtor, under pressure of the summons or the subsequent telephone contact, proceeds to payment of the claim, our fee is determined based on the following collection rates: • on the first € 3,000: 15% • on the excess, up to € 6,000: 10% • on the excess, up to € 15,000: 8% • on the excess, up to € 60,000: 5% • on the excess, over € 60,000: 2%
Example: If we collect a sum of € 12,000 on your behalf, the fee adds up to € 1230 (€ 450 plus € 300 plus € 480 according to the above scheme). The fee is then increased by 6% for office expenses plus 19% VAT.
If, for any reason, we are not successful in recovering your debt in the extrajudicial phase, you will only be charged a maximum of € 85 in administration costs.
We always consult with you prior to initiating proceedings on the substance of the case. The work in this phase will be charged at an hourly rate of € 195 plus 6% for out-of-pocket expenses and 19% VAT. For claims up to a principal sum of € 5,000, the hourly rate is € 150. This is a competitive price in comparison with other lawyers. Please feel free to check out other rates for yourself.
A court fee is due in addition to the lawyer’s fee. This is an administrative fee which we have to pay the court for its work. This sum may be determined as follows: • For claims from € 0 to € 12.500: court fee € 471; • For claims from € 12.500 to € 100.000: court fee € 1.929; • For claims over € 100.000: court fee € 3.903.
If we are unsuccessful in recovering costs in the bankruptcy proceedings, our charges will be limited to a fixed fee of € 450. This fee covers preparation and filing of the bankruptcy petition, contacting the debtor and attendance at a single session of the court in Breda. If, during this procedure, a debt is recovered, the collection rates above apply, with a minimum of € 450. The court fee to be paid, is € 619 (2017). On occasion, assistance from a trial lawyer on site may be desirable, in which case an average of € 350 of extra costs will apply.
A bankruptcy petition requires finding a second creditor with a claim against your debtor. We can help you find other creditors through our collaboration with specialist agencies, with whom we work at reduced rates. The average cost of such an investigation is € 150. The total average cost of a bankruptcy petition is therefore € 1.569 excl. VAT. This is a very fast and effective procedure!
Five good reasons for having VRP Advocaten deal with your claims:
* We are experienced debt collection specialists (both national and international).
* We take decisive and effective action and adopt a clear working procedure.
* We offer competitive rates and transparency upfront.
* We provide our clients with the best possible information.
* We offer the advantages of a debt collection lawyer over a collection agency or bailiff.
Are you looking for a law firm beyond the participating countries? Please contact us.