Bailiffs in the Netherlands

Bailiffs in the Netherlands

Professional Activities and Legal Framework

Gerechtsdeurwaarder: Basic functions

The profession of judicial officer has two elements:

  • On the one hand, the judicial officer is a public civil servant, appointedby the Crown, who has the care of supporting the execution of the judgment. In this sense, the judicial officer is involved from the start in a judicial procedure and the execution of the judgment in this procedure.
  • But there is more, because on the other hand the judicial officer is a independent entrepreneur. In this capacity, the judicial officer advises his/her employers, executes legal and collecting missions and can offer support with the whole debt management. It is advisable to use the services of a judicial officer even before there is any possibility of a judicial procedure.

The judicial officer can give legal advice. They can only appear before the lowest courts (as can other individuals), typically in labour or tenancy agreements or small claims courts. They have the function of arresting ships and real estate as well as moveable property in pursuit of civil claims. They have direct contact with the public, also having the function of serving writs of summons. They are an important group in these areas, being part state employed and part private.


Bailliffs are covered by the general Directives on mutual recognition of diplomas, unless they can show that their activities are exempt under the Treaty exceptions to free movement to be found in Articles 39 (4) or 45 EC. This is unlikely as the European Commission reportedly (Law Society Gazette) has recently decided (November 2000) that notaries are not to be considered as immune from the effects of the free movement articles of the Treaty.

Legal Education

In order to be appointed as an judicial officer (gerechtsdeurwaarder), it is necessary to follow a three year degree to become a candidate-judicial officer (kandidaat-gerechtsdeurwaarder). This three year degree is offered by the Law Faculty at the University of Utrecht on instructions of the Mr. dr. M. Teekens Stichting (see below). The candidate-judicial officer will, then be required to train for another year during which he/she will be designated as supply candidate-judicial officer (Toegevoegd kandidaat-gewrechtswaarder). After this training period, the candidate will be registered as supply candidate-judicial officer, and only after having worked for a period of two-years, including the year’s training, can the candidate be eligible to be appointed as a “gerechtsdeurwaarder”.

Legal Training

Governing Bodies

They are:

  • The Netherlands Order of Advocates (The Hague, The Netherlands).
  • The Koninklijke Notariele Beroepsorganisatie (Den Haag, The Netherlands).
  • Koninklijke Vereniging van Gerechtsdeurwaarders (Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Relevant Legislation

Author: J Lonbay (A), 2008

Other Legal Professionals


There is an entry about lawyers in the Netherlands in this European legal encyclopedia. Information about lawyers in Europe countries is provided here.


There is an entry about notaries in the Netherlands in this European legal encyclopedia. Information about notaries in Europe is provided here.

Bailiffs in some other European Countries



See Also

Further Reading

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