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Civil Law in Netherlands

Civil Law in Netherlands

Updated on Wednesday 09th September 2015

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The Dutch Civil Code is divided into several books containing regulations related to all the civil law matters. These books are:  Book 1 regarding to Natural Persons and Family Law, Book 2 which is referring to Legal Persons, Book 3 on Property Law in General, Book 4 related to the Law of Succession, Book 5 on Real Property rights, Book 6 regarding Obligations and Contracts, Book 7 on Particular Contracts, Book 8 regarding Transport Law and Means of Transport, Book 9 related to Intellectual Property and the Book 10 related to International Private Laws.

The civil law system of Netherlands can be divided into the law on persons, the property law and intellectual property law.

The Book 1 of the Netherlands Civil Code is regulating Family law matters and it is dealing with family-related issues and individuals’ relations such as marriages, registered partnerships, civil unions, family names, birth, children and their legal representation, custody or adoption, parental responsibility. The issues related to divorce or marriage annulments or legal separation, are matters governed by family law. These matters usually cannot be separated from other areas of expertise of the civil law for example with property rights and obligations (for example in case related to separation and divorce).

The Book 2 referring to legal persons is stipulating all the details regarding the position of legal entities in Netherlands and the relationship between the individuals forming these legal entities. A legal entity is a union of several individuals which can operate in this form as if they were a single individual. It is also known as ‘juridical person’ or ‘juristic person’. These entities can own property and can perform juridical acts. The members forming a legal entity don’t actually own the property of the legal entity but are not involved with their personal assets in case the legal entity requires so(in case of bankruptcy for instance).

The 4th Book of the Civil Code is related to the procedure of distributing an estate of a deceased natural to his legatees. The Law of Succession must be regarded separately from property law even though both of them are referring to estates.  The main difference between the two is that the Law of Succession is referring to the modality to deal with a dead individual property. It also mustn’t be confused with the Family Law matters.

The Property Law can be divided into the law of obligations, contract law and the law of real property rights. These are covered by several Books of the Civil Code such as the Book 3(on Property Law in General referring to juridical acts and legal representation), Book 5 (Real Property rights), and the Book 6 on Obligations and Contracts(regarding agreements in general) and the Book 7 on Particular Contracts(regarding basic used contracts).

The Dutch legal system is formed by the Supreme Court situated in Hague, the Courts of Appeal (there are five of them in Amsterdam, the Hague, Arnhem, Leeuwarden and Hertogenbosch), sub district Courts (hearing claims below 25000 EUR in of the 56 courts all over the country) and District Courts (hearing all civil claims in one of the 19th Courts placed all over Netherlands).

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