Legal proceedings usually end with a judgment. If the judgment is not voluntarily complied with, the bailiff can enforce the judgment. The bailiff then proceeds with the execution of the judgment. The enforcement of a judgment is suspended in the event that the party against whom judgment has been given lodges an ‘ordinary legal remedy’ (opposition (verzet), appeal (hoger beroep) or cassation (cassatie)), unless the judgment has been declared provisionally enforceable. In practice, a significant number of judgments are declared provisionally enforceable. What exactly does this mean and what are the (im)possibilities when a judgment has been declared provisionally enforceable and the execution of the judgment has already begun?

What is a provisionally enforceable judgment?

The legal basis can be found in Article 233 of the Dutch Code of Civil Procedure:


"Unless otherwise provided by law or the nature of the case requires otherwise, the court, if so requested, may declare that its judgment shall be provisionally enforceable notwithstanding the possibility of recourse. [...]"

As follows from this, the declaration of provisionally enforceable must be requested. Note that, however, in summary proceedings, the court may declare the judgment provisionally enforceable on his own initiative.

If a judgment is declared provisionally enforceable, the judgment can be immediately enforced, even if the appeal period has not yet expired or if an appeal is still pending. In other words, the party who has been awarded the judgment does not have to wait for the outcome of the appeal before enforcing the judgment. For example, if the judgment requires the defendant to make a payment, the party who has been awarded the judgment can enforce that payment immediately, even if the defendant has appealed.

The opposing party requests the declaration of provisionally enforceable. What can I do?
You can object to a request of the opposing party to declare the judgment provisionally enforceable.

You must present arguments as to why it is not acceptable for the judgment to be declared provisionally enforceable. Your interest in not declaring the judgment provisionally enforceable must outweigh the interest of the other party in declaring the judgment provisionally enforceable. This can be the case, for example, if the enforcement of the judgment will have irreparable consequences.

If the court still decides to declare the judgment enforceable immediately, there are still possibilities to suspend the enforcement. It is important to take action in a timely manner.

What are my options if the judgment has nevertheless been declared provisionally enforceable?
If a judgment has been declared provisionally enforceable and you do not agree, there are possibilities to achieve a suspension of the enforcement:

  • Appeal: If you do not agree with the judgment, you can file an appeal with the appellate court. The appeal does not have a suspensive effect on the judgment, but you can submit an incidental request for suspension of the enforcement for the duration of the appeal.
  • Enforcement dispute (executiegeschil): If the judgment is still enforced before a decision has been made in the appeal, you can start an execution dispute. In this case, you can request the court (possibly in summary proceedings) to suspend the enforcement of the judgment.

It is advisable to consult a lawyer if a judgment has been declared enforceable immediately and you do not agree. A lawyer can advise you on the steps to take.

Does the court easily declare the judgment provisionally enforceable?
Whether or not a judgment is declared provisionally enforceable will depend on the circumstances of the case and the interests of both parties. There is no guarantee that the court will do so, but in practice, almost all judgments are declared provisionally enforceable, especially if no defense has been put forward specifically to that request.

This blog aims to provide you with information to understand what a provisionally enforceable judgment entails, what the consequences are and what you can do to defend against a request for provisional enforceability or how to suspend the enforcement of such a verdict.