On 1 September 2017, the KEI legislation for claims with mandatory representation (Civil 1.0) will enter into force at the courts of Gelderland and Central Netherlands. From this date, litigation will only be processed digitally in these courts.

In principle, the KEI legislation for Civil 1.0 procedures will be rolled out nationally at the other first instance courts five months later. The pilot period may also be extended. In that context, in a progress report of 15 May 2017, the Minister of Security and Justice emphasized that care and reliability are paramount and that there are various decision making moments before further KEI legislation comes into effect.

In the run-up to Civil 1.0, a pre-pilot at the courts of Gelderland and Central Netherlands took place in cooperation with law firms involving a total of 17 mock cases. In addition, on the basis of the experimentation provision which is included in the KEI legislation, three real cases have been processed by the pilot courts.

Originally, it was hoped that Civil 1.0 would start earlier than 1 September 2017, but the Judiciary and the Dutch Bar Association decided to extend the pre-pilot and start the mandatory phase of digital litigation only once both parties felt that the system was ‘ready for it’. See the previously published blog ‘The start of KEI: introduction of digital litigation’.

At the start of the mandatory phase of digital litigation, there will be a large group of lawyers who do not have the pre-pilot experience and for whom digital processing is entirely new. This may cause some ‘teething’ problems.

In his advice of 13 April 2017, the Chairman of the Judiciary stated to the Minister of Security and Justice regarding the (partial) entry into force of the KEI laws that the Judiciary will adopt a reasonable attitude towards digital litigation. In addition, civil courts have agreed to a recommendation from the Judiciary on excusable failure to meet the deadline.