Litigation and Arbitration

Pels Rijcken has ample experience with handling legal proceedings in front of all Dutch and European judiciary bodies.

The Litigation & Arbitration team has an excellent track record in providing strategic legal advice and second opinions, both during legal proceedings as well as prior to these. Their expertise covers all possible stages of a case, whether it concerns summary proceedings, proceedings on the merits or arbitration, proceedings at first instance, appeals or cassation or a set of complex (related) legal proceedings. This also includes attachments and execution disputes, collective actions and procedures establishing the amounts payable in damages.

Pels Rijcken's Litigation & Arbitration team includes attorneys who support both private and public sector clients from various lines of approach in a fast, efficient and dedicated fashion. The attorneys were involved in high-profile proceedings in various areas. Some examples are liability law (the fire at Chemie-Pack Moerdijk and matters relating to cartel damage), contract and corporate law (with regard to the banking industry's duty of care) and media law (with regard to domain names of members of government). Pels Rijcken was also involved in arbitrations concerning the HSL (high speed trains), the Western Scheldt Tunnel and the Joint Strike Fighter.

Pels Rijcken's clients include various commercial institutions such as insurance companies and companies (quoted on the stock exchange). Also on the firm's client list are the State, supervisors and various lower-level governments.


  • "Pels Rijcken is a fantastic law firm. If you have a case or question the lawyers react immediately." - Chambers Europe 2022
  • "Exceptionally skilled, collaborative and efficient.", "Pels Rijcken’s insights are very beneficial when litigating complex commercial transactions or negotiating commercial contracts.", "A very warm co-operation, with person approach and the expertise and experience I was searching for.", "Excellent Supreme Court litigation team.", "Well known firm for dispute resolution, with high-quality lawyers." - The Legal 500, 2022
  • "They are among the best litigators in the Netherlands, and "know how to plead their case.", Chambers Global en Chambers Europe 2021
  • "A client highlights the timeliness of the team's counsel, describing it as always willing and able to provide advice or help at very short notice." - Chambers Europe 2021
  • "The team I worked with was complementary: different expertise, capabilities and characters, needed in a complex legal case.", "Pels Rijcken is unique in its great experience with litigation for central and local government in the Netherlands. They combine high quality legal plus excellent procedural knowledge with the right sensitivity in representing the central government and other public authorities. They have a set of excellent litigators.", "‘The Pels’ commercial litigation practice is very reputable and especially excels in its Supreme Court litigation.", "The litigation team at Pels is very, very strong – their advice is clear, considered and strategic. They are a pleasure to work with and we have been very impressed with their advice and how they have navigated complex, multi-party proceedings." - The Legal 500, 2021
  • "One client describes a very experienced team, quick and reliable and adds that the work is always of a high level and the team members are easily accessible. Another lauds the team's strength, saying: They are very experienced and you see that. They proactively come with their own ideas." -  Chambers Europe 2020
  • "On supreme court litigation they excel.", "Very experienced team, quick and reliable. The team delivers work of high quality and is also capable of finding good practical solutions for complex legal matters. Team members are easily accessible, also outside office hours.", "We have trusted the Dispute Resolution team of Pels Rijcken to handle complex litigation for us. They are exceptionally knowledgeable and committed. Their work has been outstanding.", "As the State Advocate of the government of the Netherlands Pels Rijcken not only performs as an excellent ordinary law firm, but also has a unique strength." - The Legal 500, 2020
  • "One client says: I am very impressed with the team as a whole and rate my experience of their representation of my case as excellent, adding: Their drafting and oral skills in support of our position was world class." - Chambers Europe 2019
  • "Another source adds: They are a great firm to work with, noting that the focus is always on the best result for the client." - Chambers Europe 2019
  • "The team at Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn NV is very responsive and very knowledgeable and is commended for its excellent work." -  The Legal 500, 2019
  • "The team is very quick to respond to requests for legal opinions on issues, and well-researched and lucid advice is generally available on short notice.", - Chambers Europe 2018
  • "They are very thorough and meticulous." - Chambers Europe 2018
  • "The team's advice to multinationals and the Dutch state is always very concise, clear and excellent. It is jointly led by real litigator Willem Heemskerk, who is committed to his clients and always able to think outside the box, and the sharp Hans van Wijk, who is a specialist in Supreme Court matters and very thorough in his approach. Bert-Jan Houtzagers is also recommended for always delivering pragmatic advice on complex matters." - The Legal 500 2018
  • "Sources are impressed with the way the firm's culture matched up to its reputation: The firm is a class act and a veritable institution in The Hague. The lawyers are friendly, co-operative and knowledgeable, setting a high standard for competitors in the Dutch legal market, adding that it is a leading firm in the area of Dutch administrative law.", Chambers Europe 2017
  • "They are fast and they always give us their reviews and answers quickly, and the quality is perfect. They got to know us and our business and that's important." - Chambers Europe 2017
  • "Well-respected firm Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn NV is ahead of the curve; its team comprises experienced, smart and very responsive litigators, including the down-to-earth Willem Heemskerk, sharp lawyer Hans van Wijk and Bert-Jan Houtzagers, who always gives pragmatic advice.", Legal 500 2017
  • "The lawyers here are very dedicated and keep to strict deadlines. They know what they are talking about especially with regard to Supreme Court proceedings.", Chambers Europe 2016
  • "The team always leaves enough time to discuss our briefs and drafts and we are always able to get in touch with the partner. The firm is very flexible, client-oriented, efficient and effective.", Chambers Europe 2016
  • "One of the top firms in the Netherlands, Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn NV is particularly renowned for its Supreme Court litigation practice.", Legal 500 2016