The power of Dutch courts to gather provisional evidence in support of litigation and arbitration from abroad should strengthen the hand of parties bringing claims against owners and charterers, according to a leading shipping law firm.
The Netherlands’ courts have broadened the scope of provisional measures drawn up earlier. This approach fits in with the country’s reputation as a hotspot for securing claims and relevant evidence, said AKD partner Haco van der Houven van Oordt.
In practice, this may involve a virtual lockdown of the ship on arrival in a Dutch jurisdiction, with bailiffs presenting ‘leave issued’ by the Rotterdam court, enabling them to copy all evidence on board in connection with a claim.
The Rotterdam Court can not only give leave for evidence attachments, but also enjoys unlimited jurisdiction in provisional witness hearings of crew members and evidence-linked investigations.
“Owners and managers, and also their insurers and lawyers, should be aware of the changing landscape, and not be taken by surprise,” Mr van der Houven van Oordt said.
The option is open to claimants in all Dutch ports, including Rotterdam, Amsterdam and also in the Dutch river Scheldt leading to Antwerp.
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Source: Lloyd's List, 4 November 2019.