Legal proceedings during corona times

dinsdag 24 maart 2020

All corona related governmental measures have a major impact on our society. E.g. all Dutch courts are closed, as of 17 March 2020. This with the exception for urgent cases. Other governmental institutions have reduced capacity.

However sometimes it will still be necessary to start, or to continue, a legal proceeding. For this reason, below you will find the status regarding most - employment related - legal proceedings:

UWV – the Dutch labour office

UVV is the Dutch Social Security Authority, which issues statutory redundancy permits and pays out social employees’ insurances (e.g. unemployment benefits and disablement benefits). Further, companies are obliged to notify UWV in case of a collective redundancy.

  • For now, the UWV works as usual. This means that it is still possible to:
    • Apply for a termination permit in case of redundancies;
    • Notify collective redundancies (20 or more redundancies within a 3 months period);
    • Apply for unemployment benefits;
    • Apply for disablement benefits.
  • Due to many requests (e.g. unemployment benefits) UWV is currently quite busy. Therefore, some delays in the process may be possible.

Courts – new cases

  • Legal proceedings can still be started, such as individual dismissal cases.
  • Most bailiffs are still working and will deliver the necessary claim forms to formally start legal proceedings.
  • In case of urgent summary proceedings (“kort geding”), the court will decide whether a hearing can take place or that the case will be postponed. A hearing will only take place in case of extreme urgency. If possible, the hearing will be held digitally.
  • Insolvency procedures can still be started, but these will be fully in writing.

Courts – ongoing cases

  • For all court cases, which will be continued, the ground rule is that ‘in-person hearings’ will be limited as much as possible.
  • At least up to and including 6 April 2020 no court hearings will take place, with the exception of urgent cases, which require a short-term judgement.
  • It will still be necessary to submit written procedural documents in an ongoing case (e.g. a statement of defense). The written proceedings are unaffected.
  • When the procedural documents are not timely submitted, the court will postpone the proceeding.
  • The courts are continuing to issue judgments.

Courts of Appeal

  • New cases can be started with the court of appeal.
  • At least up to and including 6 April 2020 no court hearings will take place, with the exception of urgent cases, which require a short-term judgement.
  • Urgent hearings will take place by video-conference, for as much as possible. Only in very exceptional cases a physical hearing can take place.
  • Special rules of procedure apply during the corona virus outbreak, including the following:
    • Each request for postponing the proceedings, will in principle be granted;
    • The minimum deadline for all procedural actions is four weeks;
  • When the procedural documents are not timely submitted, the court will postpone the proceeding for four weeks.

IND – highly skilled migrant visas

  • It is still possible to apply for, and to renew, highly skilled migrant visas.
  • However Dutch consulates abroad have limited their activities and authorizations for temporary stay will no longer be issued.
  • Be aware that although it may still be possible to obtain a highly skilled migrant visa, it may not be possible for the employees to travel to the Netherlands.

Tax Authority – 30% wage tax ruling

  • For now, it is still possible to apply for the 30% wage tax ruling.
  • Working from home outside of the Netherlands may have consequences for the eligibility of the 30% tax ruling, for it can only be applied to income, taxable in the Netherlands.
  • When the work/travel pattern of your employees changes, as result of working from home (NL or abroad), this may also have tax and social security consequences.

Bailiffs and Lawyers

Most bailiffs and lawyers are working normally (although also from home) and will be able to provide assistance with litigation cases and provide advice in general. Especially with respect to urgent cases it is not necessary to delays legal action.

Pallas Attorneys-at-Law

Pallas Attorneys-at-Law advises on all corona employment related issues.

With regard to other corona crisis regulations, Pallas Attorneys-at-Law can refer you to one of our specialized network partners.

If you have any questions, or if you need further information, please contact your lawyer with Pallas Attorneys-at-Law, or contact Alain Camonier on +31 20 470 93 64, or by e-mail: alain.camonier@pallas.nl