Law Firm VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne

Dispute Resolution

Resolving disputes is a vital part of corporate risk management and strategy. Dispute resolution comes in several shapes and forms. Settlement may be the preferred solution; it may be unrealistic, impractible, not feasible or even undesirable. Globalization and the changing market in the Dutch Caribbean are resulting in more cross-border disputes. Also, regulation is becoming increasingly complex.

Dispute resolution is where a civil action is brought before a court of law in which a party who claims to have received damages seeks a legal or equitable remedy from someone else. If successful, judgment will be given. A range of court orders may be issued, e.g. to:
  • Enforce a right;
  • Award damages;
  • Impose an injunction to prevent an act or to compel an act; 
  • Prevent future legal disputes (declaratory judgment).

Litigation is the most common form of dispute resolution. Another form is administrative dispute resolution. That covers issues in court where a governmental body’s authority or a government’s act is claimed to be legally invalid, illegal, or otherwise a party seeks an injunction against future governmental acts. This includes dispute resolution between administrative bodies. In the Dutch Caribbean a myriad of administrative procedures exists that has greatly increased since the recent introduction of the National Ordinance on Administrative Proceedings. Finally, alternative dispute resolution methods are arbitration and mediation.

Dispute resolution is traditionally a substantial part of our law practice. Our lawyers are qualified to litigate all over the Dutch Caribbean. Due to the exceptional international orientation of the region, many cases also have international aspects which are reflected in complex corporate relationships. At VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne we experience this as an exciting challenge and offer our clientele, ranging from local and international companies to governmental bodies, extensive experience in all forms of dispute resolution.

An interesting aspect of dispute resolution in the Dutch Caribbean is that it contributes (modestly) to the development of law in the kingdom of the Netherlands. This is due to the fact that the Supreme Court of the Netherlands in The Hague is also the highest court of justice on the islands. Our team is led by the former head of the dispute resolution department of an international British law firm. Moreover, it holds lawyers that have been deputy members of the Joint Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. Several of the members of the team act as arbitrator. Some of the team members specialize in corporate litigation.

Recently we have assisted:
  • An NYSE listed energy company in proceedings to prevent a claim of payment by an employee of approximately USD 1 mln.
  • Aqualectra, the Curaçao state-owned utility company, in legal proceedings against the World Trade Center in Curaçao regarding a claim of USD 5.8 mln. due to unregistered consumption.
  • Clients in proceedings concerning the raise of the ground rent, with the result that the raise had to be reversed by the local government in 600 individual cases.
  • Hotelchain in litigation against large touroperator in respect of hotels in Dominican Republic
  • Labor union Sindikato General Trahado di Korsow (SGTK) in summary proceedings instituted by nine contracting firms against the labor union as a result of a strike by their employees.
  • Marriott regarding the immediate dismissal of various employees, including litigation, due to breach of policies.
  • State-owned telecom provider UTS in a dispute with the Curaçao Court of Audit (Algemene Rekenkamer Curaçao or ARC), who had been instructed by the Parliament to audit the regulatory and efficiency of policies at the company.
  • Telecomprovider UTS in a dispute with the Curaçao Court of Audit, which was instructed by the Parliament to audit the regulatory and efficiency of the policy in state-owned company UTS.
  • The Curaçao government in high-profile administrative court proceedings regarding the rates for the return supply of solar energy.
  • The government of the country of Curaçao in the appeal procedure at de Kingdom Council of State, regarding the extension of financial supervision on Curaçao.
  • World-famous brand Havaianas in litigation regarding trademark and copyright infringements before the Joint Court of Justice.
  • “Stichting Monumentenzorg” (Foundation for the preservation of historic buildings and sites) and Sea Shore Propoerties N.V., as owners of a large part of the Jan Kok area in Curacao, with regard to the damage to this nature reserve as a result of an oil spill in 2012
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