One of the basic principles of Dutch civil procedural law is reflected in the requirement that the defendant must have the opportunity of expressing his point of view in court. This principle of “auditur et altera pars” is closely linked to another fundamental principle of Dutch procedural law, viz., the principle requiring that all the parties in a case should be treated on an equal basis. Stein argues that “these principles would not be realized if the law had not laid down special provisions to ensure that the defendant is informed of the case made against him to enable him to have an opportunity of opposing it himself”. The defendant is involved in the case once the preliminary summons has been served. In the law of the Netherlands – and of most other countries – the position of a defendant resident in the country concerned is hedged with safeguards. Various steps must be taken to inform the defendant regarding the case made against him. In most cases it is only a consequence of the defendant's own actions if he remains ignorant of the case against him.
* This is an English translations of the article published in Rechtsgeleerd Magazijn Themis 1981/5 pp. 400–425.
** Senior Research Officer in the Private International Law Department of the T.M.C. Asser Institute.