Applying for limited legal capacity

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

You are 16 or 17 years old and have your own company. Or you are going to start a business. Then you probably do not always want to ask permission from your parents or guardian. To act independently from them, you can ask the court for limited legal capacity (handlichting). You must be at least 16 years old and have permission from your parents or guardian.

Not yet 18? An underage entrepreneur needs permission for everything

The Dutch Civil Code (het Burgerlijk Wetboek) says that a minor may only perform legal actions with written permission from legal representatives. So, your parents or guardian. You are ‘legally incapable’ (handelingsonbekwaam). To register a business as a minor, your parent or guardian must fill in and sign a letter of consent.

With limited legal capacity, you become partly ‘legally capable’. The court will give you the powers of an adult. Actions that fall under the limited legal capacity cannot be touched. Your parents or guardian cannot reverse or cancel them.

The limited legal capacity only applies to actions for your company. It does not apply to private transactions. Until you turn 18, you still need permission from your parents or guardian for those.

Without limited legal capacity, you must request permission from your parents or guardian for every legal action. If you do, they can undo your actions up to 3 years later.

These are actions that are less common for someone your age, such as:

With limited legal capacity, you can perform these legal actions without permission. This also means that you are responsible and liable for any consequences.

In principle, with limited legal capacity, you can do anything that another entrepreneur can do. But the court, your parents or guardian, and you can also opt for so-called restrictive provisions. For example, a maximum amount with which you may act independently. You also may not own registered property or securities, or take out a mortgage. You must be of actual legal age to do this.

If you are 16 or 17 years old, you can submit a request to the court in your region. Your parents or guardians need to give permission. Your request must include:

  • your name
  • the name and signature of your parents or guardian
  • a copy of your birth certificate
  • the reason for the request
  • the powers you want

Limited legal capacity is an official decision of a judge. These are always published in 2 daily newspapers and in the Government Gazette (Staatscourant). You pay the costs of these publications and the costs of the court. This differs per region and daily newspaper. The costs are between €1,000 and €1,500.

After the court approves your request, you will receive an official copy of your limited legal capacity from the court. You can show this to your trading partners as proof of your legal capacity.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK