Disclosure in Dutch Court Procedures
Pre-trial discovery works different in the Netherlands then e.g. the US of UK. It is possible to hear witnesses, obtain proof from other parties, get experts appointed by the Dutch Court, et cetera. A Dutch attorney can organize the pre-trial discovery in the Netherlands.
Getting Witnesses to Court in the Netherlands
Article 162 of The Dutch Code of Civil Proceedings gives the possibility of the provisional examination (preliminary hearing) of witnesses. This means that the Dutch attorney of any party can call witnesses to the court to be heard, before it decides to commence legal proceedings against an other party. By doing so, this party will have the opportunity to estimate – on the basis of the statements of the witnesses – its chances in legal proceedings, and to decide whether or not to commence legal proceedings. Within the frame of these preliminary hearings, the court can be requested to order the other party to have its accounts, records and documents inspected by an independent external expert (e.g. a certified auditor or accountant).
Appointing Dutch Court Expert
The Court can also appoint an expert do initiate pre-trial expertise. A Dutch attorney can file a request for this appointment of an expert. To obtain appointment of the expert by the Court it is not necessary that a claim is filed or a procedure is already pending. It may be important to obtain expert evidence. Dutch Courts tend to follow the report of expert appointed by teh Court.
Dutch Court Order for Investigation
The Dutch Code of Civil Proceedings does not know proceedings to get pre-trial inspection of accounts, records and documents (electronic records and documents included). According to the law, such an inspection can only take place during legal proceedings. However, if evidence (documents, records, bank statements, e-mails et cetera) is kept by a party and the plaintiff has a legitimate interest to obtain this evidence then Article 843a of the Dutch Code of Civil Proceedings allows summary proceedings to obtain a court order for obtaining (copies of) this evidence.