Professional Liability

This is a very broad area of law, in which the professional liability must be distinguished from director’s liability.

Professional liability is the liability of, for example, lawyers, civil law notaries, bailiffs, architects, constructors, assurance agents et cetera. In these cases, the question is whether the person involved has acted according to the standards which may be expected of a reasonably capable and reasonably acting peer professional. In order to answer this question, knowledge about the applicable rules, the information that was available at the time of the contested action etc. is required.

A Director’s liability mainly concerns Book 2 of the Dutch Civil Code, which dictates what may be expected of directors and supervisors of limited companies (Dutch ‘N.V.’s’) and public companies (Dutch ‘B.V.’s’) In that respect, cases that involve a director being held liable by his company – for example in case of fraud – should be distinguished from cases in which a director is being held liable by creditors – for example in case of bankruptcy.

In this context, the question is often whether the director has a director's liability insurance that provides cover. If that is the case and if there also seems to be liability, there is often another obstacle to be overcome: has the professional misconduct actually led to damage and if so, to what damage?

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