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Business dispute in international business

This information is provided by:Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency RVONederlandse versie

You hope that business always runs fair and smoothly. Recording your agreements in a contract or general terms and conditions helps with this. But what do you do if a dispute does arise with a customer, supplier, or business partner abroad?

Good preparation can make all the difference

Therefore, come to clear agreements about:

Find out what caused the dispute

It is preferable for you to resolve a business dispute with your customer, supplier, or business partner. For example, try to find out the reason why an invoice is not paid. Was the delivery late, are there quality concerns, or was the contract misinterpreted? You may be able to determine the cause of the conflict and resolve it quite easily.

Take cultural differences into account

Learn about the cultural differences between the Netherlands and the country you do business with. Perhaps a cultural difference is the cause, leading to a misunderstanding. The country information provided by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (in Dutch, RVO) and the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (in Dutch, KVK) offers an overview of the most important dos and don'ts per country.

Request help from the embassy or consulate

Cannot seem to solve the problem together? Then the Dutch embassy or consulate can help with a solution. They know which authorities you can call on abroad. The Dutch embassy and consulate have an advisory role. So they have no means of power to enforce regulations.

You can also have your dispute resolved in court. You start such a legal proceedings by engaging a lawyer who is specialised in international law. In the contract with your customer, supplier, or business partner you have stated whether Dutch or foreign law applies. The process can sometimes take a long time. In addition, legal proceedings are not cheap. Should you have a conflict with a supplier in the European Union, read about your options here.

Check whether arbitration or mediation is an option for you

Arbitration is a way to resolve a conflict without going to court. Experts then decide on the conflict. This procedure is usually faster than legal proceedings. The experts are usually more specialised than judges. You designate an arbitral tribunal in an arbitration clause in your contract.

When you choose mediation, an independent mediator helps to resolve the dispute. You choose this option together with the other party in the conflict. Even when a case has already been brought to court, you can still choose mediation.

Check if you can get your money back

When products or services are not delivered as agreed, you probably want your money back. A special European procedure makes it easier to seize a bank account in another member state.

Conservatory attachment

Do you want to make a claim against a debtor who has money in a bank in another EU country? Then you can ask a Dutch court for a seizure of that bank account, also known as an ‘attachment’. This seizure can be made before you request or receive a decision from the court in the country where the bank account is.

Laws and rules

You can find many articles about laws and rules regarding legal matters on our website.

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