9 July 2016

What services can a Dutch equine lawyer offer?

Category: Buying a horse

The equestrian lawyer with Blenheim deals with contracting, pre-purchase advice, pre-trial discovery, liability and litigation. We represent equine clients in litigation, help resolve equine disputes, draft customised equine contracts, represent clients in the horse industry and incorporate equine businesses for all breeds and disciplines.

We also assist clients with acquisitions of horses in the Netherlands, including vet exams and negotiating, preparing and advising on the related contracts. When a horse appears to have a defect, we advise the client on the examination of the defect and on the related documentation. If it comes to litigation, we represent our clients before the Dutch courts. Also read: buying a horse in the Netherlands.

Litigation regarding horses with a defect

Litigation regarding horses with defects can be complex, in particular if the contract does not fully contemplate this eventuality. In such cases, the judge will have to determine which of the parties should bear the risk. The courts are frequently faced with contradictory expert opinions from vets which are tendered by the parties. In the Netherlands, the court itself may appoint an expert. In order to prevent litigation I take a proactive role as an equine lawyer, advising my clients on the risks in advance and encouraging them to enter into clear agreements when considering buying, selling or other transactions involving horses.

Stricter rules and contract for horse transactions

On the basis of some of the equine law cases that I have handled, I have noticed that there is a real need in practice for stricter rules on the rescission of transactions when it is discovered that a horse has a defect. It is futile to spend years litigating about a horse, given that you are talking about a living animal that needs ongoing care and attention.

Will equine litigation In the Netherlands increase?

The Netherlands are renowned for high quality horse breeding and equestrian sports. This makes it an attractive place for (foreign) buyers and leads to growth in transactions and to an increase in the number of equine law issues that arise. We have also observed increased awareness amongst individuals of their rights as buyers. One of the things that has contributed to this is the EU Directive on Unfair Contract Terms which has been implemented in Dutch national law. This has also led to an increase in the number of disputes an court cases in the Netherlands involving horses.