Amsterdam’s Outsourcing Team Authors 2019 Netherlands Outsourcing Practice Guide for Chambers Global

Posted in Corporate Law, English Language

Greenberg Traurig, LLP Amsterdam Shareholders Herald JongenThomas Timmermans, and associates Laurens Timmer and Eduard Stein, have authored the Netherlands Law & Practice chapter in the 2019 Chambers Global Practice Guide on Outsourcing.

The Outsourcing Guide offers an analysis of the key market developments in outsourcing in the Netherlands, as well as an overview of the outsourcing regulatory and legal environment. Additional sections cover contract models, contract terms, and HR and asset transfer issues.

Chambers’ Global Practice Guides provide legal commentary on key issues for businesses and discuss important developments in the most significant jurisdictions. For each guide, Chambers and Partners selects contributing editors who are ranked in the relevant Chambers guides as among the best in their field.

To read the full chapter, click here (reprinted with permission from Chambers Global).

De redelijke termijn voor nakoming

Posted in contracts, litigation

In zijn arrest van 11 oktober 2019 (ECLI:NL:HR:2019:1581) heeft de Hoge Raad zich uitgelaten over de redelijke termijn die bij een ingebrekestelling aan een niet-presterende contractspartij moet worden gegund om nog correct na te komen. Ook gaat de Hoge Raad in op de gevallen waarin verzuim zonder ingebrekestelling kan intreden. Dit arrest is van groot belang voor contractspartijen die zich geconfronteerd zien met een wederpartij die haar verplichtingen niet nakomt.

Het uitgangspunt van artikel 6:265 BW is dat een tekortkoming van voldoende gewicht een contractuele wederpartij het recht geeft op (gehele of gedeeltelijke) ontbinding van de overeenkomst.[1] Op grond van art. 6:265 lid 2 BW ontstaat de bevoegdheid tot ontbinding, als de nakoming niet blijvend of tijdelijk onmogelijk is, pas als de schuldenaar in verzuim is. Als voor de nakoming geen termijn is gesteld, treedt verzuim pas in nadat de schuldenaar bij schriftelijke aanmaning in gebreke is gesteld, waarbij een redelijke termijn voor nakoming is gegeven, en nakoming binnen deze termijn uitblijft.

Ingebrekestelling

In deze zaak is tussen een hoofdaannemer (Fraanje) en een onderaannemer (Alukon) gedurende een periode van enkele maanden gecorrespondeerd, waarbij door Fraanje meermalen is geklaagd over niet-tijdige en kwalitatief ondeugdelijke prestaties van Alukon. Uiteindelijk ontbindt Fraanje de overeenkomst. Het gerechtshof oordeelde dat de door Fraanje gestelde termijnen voor nakoming onredelijk kort waren, waardoor Alukon niet in verzuim verkeerde en de overeenkomst niet ontbonden kon worden. De Hoge Raad vernietigt dit arrest van het gerechtshof en legt het leerstuk uit.

De functie van de ingebrekestelling is om de schuldenaar nog een laatste termijn voor nakoming te geven. De lengte van de termijn voor nakoming die aan de schuldenaar moet worden gegeven is afhankelijk van de omstandigheden van het geval. Een relevante omstandigheid die moet worden meegewogen is de tijd die de schuldenaar vóór de aanmaning heeft gehad om zich voor te bereiden. De Hoge Raad merkt op dat het een schuldenaar in de meeste gevallen niet vrij staat om te wachten met het verrichten van voorbereidende handelingen tot hij (formeel) aangemaand wordt. Dit betekent dat termijnen die eerder zijn gesteld en eventuele eerdere sommaties van belang kunnen zijn bij de beoordeling van de redelijkheid van de in de aanmaning genoemde termijn. Als eerder termijnen zijn gesteld of een sommatie is verstuurd, kan de termijn die bij de finale ingebrekestelling is gegeven verkort worden, waarna de schuldenaar in verzuim geraakt.

Verzuim zonder ingebrekestelling

Verzuim kan daarnaast ook zonder ingebrekestelling intreden. De in art. 6:83 BW genoemde gevallen betreft geen limitatieve opsomming. In sommige gevallen kan, mede in verband met de hanteerbaarheid in de praktijk van het wettelijk stelsel, een beroep op het ontbreken van een ingebrekestelling naar maatstaven van redelijkheid en billijkheid onaanvaardbaar zijn of kan worden aangenomen dat op grond van de redelijkheid en billijkheid een ingebrekestelling achterwege kan blijven en de schuldenaar zonder ingebrekestelling in verzuim is geraakt, aldus de Hoge Raad.

Zo kunnen de omstandigheden meebrengen dat verzuim intreedt als de schuldenaar niet of niet toereikend reageert op een verzoek van de schuldeiser om binnen een redelijke termijn te bevestigen dat hij zal gaan nakomen. De eisen die daarbij aan de reactie van de schuldeiser mogen worden gesteld, zijn eveneens afhankelijk van de omstandigheden. Daarbij is volgens de Hoge Raad onder meer van belang hoe concreet de schuldeiser de te herstellen gebreken heeft aangeduid en hoe specifiek hij heeft aangedrongen op een mededeling van de schuldenaar. Bij de beoordeling of de schuldeiser uit de reactie of de opstelling van de schuldenaar heeft mogen afleiden dat de schuldenaar niet of niet tijdig zou nakomen, kunnen ook latere feiten en omstandigheden van belang zijn.

Conclusie

De Hoge Raad lijkt met dit arrest de trend van deformalisering door te zetten en een meer praktische benadering te kiezen.[2] Dit laatste kennelijk vanuit de gedachte dat partijen in de praktijk meestal handelen zonder gedetailleerde kennis van de wet, en niet onredelijk gehinderd zouden moeten worden door een (te) rigide wettelijk systeem. Dit geeft de feitenrechters meer handvaten om, afhankelijk van de omstandigheden van een geval, tot een redelijke uitkomst te komen. Daar staat wel tegenover dat dit ten koste kan gaan van de rechtszekerheid die een strikte interpretatie van de wet met zich brengt.

[1]       In zijn arrest van 28 september 2018 (ECLI:NL:HR:2018:1810) heeft de Hoge Raad verduidelijkt dat alleen een tekortkoming van voldoende gewicht, en niet elke tekortkoming, recht geeft op ontbinding op grond van art. 6:265 BW.

[2]       Zie in dit kader ook Hoge Raad 4 oktober 2019 (ECLI:NL:HR:2019:1489) over verjaring.

LIBOR Transition Newsletter – Issue 1

Posted in English Language, GT Alert, LIBOR

Welcome to Greenberg Traurig’s LIBOR Transition Newsletter, where we provide updates, analysis, and occasional commentary on the latest developments relating to the highly anticipated phasing-out of LIBOR at the end of 2021 – barely two years from now. Questions addressed in this issue: Why is LIBOR being phased out? What will be the immediate effect? Where are we now? Are market participants ready for LIBOR replacement? What should market participants be doing now? Documentation and Other Recent Developments.

Click here for the full LIBOR Transition Newsletter.

Greenberg Traurig Amsterdam advises InterXion on its USD 8.4 Billion Combination with Digital Realty

Posted in Firm News

The Amsterdam office of global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP represented InterXion (NYSE: INXN), a leading European provider of cloud- and carrier-neutral colocation data center services, in a business combination with Digital Realty (NYSE: DLR). The transaction values InterXion at approximately USD 93.48 per share or USD 8.4 billion of total enterprise value in an all-stock deal, based on Digital Realty’s closing price on Monday.

This strategic transaction is the largest in the history of the data center industry and will position the combined company as a leading global provider of data center solutions with enhanced presence in major European metropolitan areas.  Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by shareholders of InterXion and Digital Realty.

Read more about the deal here or on TheDeal.com (subscription required).

Employment and Pension Law Update 2019: The Netherlands

Posted in governing law, GT Alert, Labor & Employment, pensions

This GT Alert provides an update on employment and pension law in the Netherlands for 2019. Topics covered include diversity in boards of larger companies; the Balanced Labour Market Act (Wab), effective 1 January 2020; amendments to restructuring rules applied by the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV), effective 1 October 2019; Dutch pension system reforms; and Pending acts and regulations, including Transfer of Undertaking in Bankruptcy Act (Wet overgang van onderneming in faillissement), changes to civil servant status, and extended birth leave. We also provide a list of training courses offered by GT and our areas of concentration in Labor & Employment law in the Netherlands.

Click here to read the full GT Alert.

New CJEU Decision on Use of Cookies

Posted in Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), data protection, GT Alert, intellectual property, privacy

On October 1, 2019 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a new judgment on the use of cookies which, under the EU E-Privacy Directive, requires users’ informed consent. The court decided that

  • the cookies consent cannot be obtained by using a pre-ticked consent checkbox; and
  • information must be provided to users which includes the duration of the operation of cookies and whether third parties may have access to the cookies.

To read the full GT Alert, “New CJEU Decision on Use of Cookies,” click here.

EU Limits Territorial Scope of ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ on the Internet

Posted in Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), data protection, ePrivacy, EU, European Union Law, GDPR, governing law, GT Alert, litigation, privacy

On Sept. 24, 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decided that the “right to be forgotten” does not require a search engine operator to carry out de-referencing on non-EU member state versions of its search engine. The case relates to a penalty of €100,000 that the French data protection authority, CNIL, had imposed on Google in March 2016. In granting a de-referencing request, the search engine – on free speech grounds – declined to apply the de-referencing worldwide to all domain-name extensions of its search engine. Arguing for global freedom of expression, Google appealed the penalty and filed an application for the annulment of CNIL’s decision with the French Council of State. The French court then referred several questions concerning the territorial scope of the “right to be forgotten” to the CJEU for preliminary ruling.

The CJEU reviewed the case both under the former Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC (Privacy Directive) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which replaced the Privacy Directive on May 25, 2018.

Click here for the full GT Alert, which discusses the CJEU ruling.

Brexit: Unlawful Prorogation Means Continued UK Parliament Scrutiny of Brexit Plans

Posted in Brexit, EU, GT Alert

In a historic decision issued 24 September 2019, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, acted unlawfully when he advised the Queen to prorogue, or suspend, the UK Parliament for five weeks, until 14 October 2019. The effect of the very clear and unanimous decision of the 11 Supreme Court judges is that Parliament was not in fact suspended and can immediately resume its work.

This in turn means that Parliament has more time to scrutinise the government’s Brexit plans, as opposed to having to wait until 14 October to do so, and that it can continue to reject a no-deal Brexit by insisting on an extension to the Brexit timetable if Mr Johnson does not agree to new withdrawal terms with the EU at a council meeting on October 17-18.

Click here to read the full GT Alert, “Brexit: Unlawful Prorogation Means Continued UK Parliament Scrutiny of Brexit Plans.”

Revised Dutch Code of Civil Procedure: Effective 1 October 2019

Posted in Dutch Code of Civil Procedure, governing law, litigation

Introduction

Effective 1 October 2019, the Dutch Code of Civil Procedure (DCCP) will partly be revised. This revision is related to the failed digitalization of the Dutch judicial system: Program Quality and Innovation of Justice (in Dutch: Programma Kwaliteit en Innovatie Rechtspraak (KEI)). Only the district courts of Gelderland and Midden-Nederland have switched to the new digital system and accompanying procedural rules. This means there are different litigation systems for different Dutch courts. To harmonize the litigation systems in the Netherlands, an Emergency Act has been accepted by the Dutch government, with (mostly practical) consequences for Dutch litigation beginning 1 October 2019. This blog post explains a few concrete consequences of the Revised Dutch Code of Civil Procedure (Revised Code).

Consequences of the Revised Code

Current Dutch legal proceedings at first instance have a pronounced written aspect. As such, it often takes longer for an oral hearing (in Dutch: mondelinge behandeling) to be scheduled and witnesses or party-appointed experts to be heard. With the Revised Code, Dutch legal proceedings will have a stronger oral element, leaving more room for the court’s direction. Most of the consequences of the Revised Code therefore relate to oral hearings.

The Court’s Increased Directing Role

With the Revised Code, the court will be given more discretion to direct legal proceedings. The court may (also at the request of parties) in all cases and in every phase of the proceedings order an oral hearing in which the court can – inter alia – discuss continuation of the procedure. During oral hearings, the court may direct or order parties regarding the performance of further procedural acts. The Revised Code cancels the section on the basis of which parties were offered the possibility to request oral pleadings (current article 134 DCCP).

The court’s increased directing role is also demonstrated in its statutory authority to ask questions during the oral hearing. Parties may also ask each other questions, subject to the court’s authority to prevent certain questions from being answered.

The Revised Code states that, when parties settle during an oral hearing, the procedure ends. In addition, the court will be given more authority regarding settlement discussions during the oral hearing.

Furthermore, the Revised Act provides general rules concerning the record of the hearing (in Dutch: proces-verbaal). The court may, inter alia, determine that the written record of the oral hearing should be replaced by an image or sound recording made by the court or on behalf of the court.

Hearings of Witnesses and Party-Appointed Experts

With the court’s prior permission, witnesses and party experts may be heard during an oral hearing. This improves the (speed of the) procedure, because separate witness hearings do not need to be ordered by the court.

The judge may determine that a statement made by a party, witness, or expert will be included in its entirety in the hearing record. In so doing, the oral hearing is more fully represented than when the court only includes a few passages in the record (as is customary under the current DCCP).

Other Consequences

Given the Revised Act, procedural law applicable to the district courts of Gelderland and Midden-Nederland will be aligned with procedural law applicable to other Dutch courts. Furthermore, it will be formalized in statute that – in principle – procedural documents and other documents must be submitted to the court at least 10 days before the oral hearing.

For more on the Dutch Code of Civil Procedure, click here.

Brexit: Political Impasse After UK Parliament Votes to Block October 31 No-Deal Departure From EU

Posted in Brexit, EU, GT Alert

Our last GT Alert on Brexit quoted the saying, “a week is a long time in politics”. New Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson has found that a mere 72 hours is an eternity as he seeks to break the political impasse on the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union – so far, unsuccessfully.

Although the 2016 referendum decision to leave the EU was carried with a low majority – 52% to 48% – and was ‘advisory’ in UK law, successive UK Governments have held that the vote must be treated as a commitment. In January 2017 the UK Supreme Court, responding to a claim brought by an individual (the ‘Miller Case’), ruled that Government could not withdraw the UK from the EU by exercising its executive powers but must seek the consent of Parliament by proposing legislation. This is the origin of the impasse Mr Johnson now faces.

Click here for the full GT Alert, “Brexit: Political Impasse After UK Parliament Votes to Block October 31 No-Deal Departure From EU.”

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