Editorial: Small claims court

POSTED: 02/21/12 12:19 PM

Changes to the civil code could lead to the establishment of a small claims court – a place where consumers are able to settle disputes that do not exceed 10,000 guilders or about $5,500. Businesses also have access to this court, be it for a slightly higher fee.
A small claims court seems attractive but the Bar Association justly warned that there are reasons to proceed carefully.

Cash-advance companies will go to this court with a lot of their claims, and the Bar also foresees large numbers of appeals against court rulings. All this will lead to pressure on the workload at the courthouse. If that pressure becomes too high, the system will collapse under its own weight.
Furthermore, the law already has a provision for the cases the small claims court aims to resolve: the so-called court order to pay.
The Bar Association is right to warn parliamentarians against rushing this legislation. As things stand now, the cure could be worse than the disease, and it is up to parliamentarians – with the support of the Bar Association – to find a workable way out.

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