BELGIUM – Horse sold during the lease agreement. Refund of advanced payment.

A company from Bermuda, the client of Schelstraete and Beelen Advocaten from Leuven, Belgium, and a company from Belgium agreed on a lease agreement regarding the lease of a horse.

The lease price needed to be paid by the client of Schelstraete and Beelen at the beginning of each year. The costs for the first year were € 100.000,- and for the second and third year € 50.000,-. In the agreement was also a clause on the sale and purchase of the horse during the lease agreement. In the event of a sale and purchase the first € 300.000,- benefits the Belgian company and everything above this amount would be equally distributed between the client and the Belgian company.

During the last year of the lease agreement, in September, the horse was sold. The revenue was distributed as set out before.

The client of Schelstraete and Beelen was of the opinion that she could claim the refund of the lease price of € 12.500,- for the months October, November and December because the lease agreement prematurely terminated in September at the sale and purchase of the horse. The client also asked for the documents regarding the sale and purchase of the horse because she was the commissionaire.

Court of first instance
The Belgian Company disputed this allegation so the client of Schelstraete and Beelen was forced to start a litigation at the Court of first instance Gent, district Dendermonde.

The client of Schelstraete and Beelen based her claim on undue payment. Based on Belgian Law two conditions must be fulfilled to speak of an undue payment: a payment and a lack of cause of this payment. The payment of € 12.500,- was done at the beginning of the year and has no cause because the lease agreement prematurely terminated and the horse was not leased from October until December.

The client of Schelstraete and Beelen won the case.

Appeal
The Belgian company could not agree and appealed against this decision at the Court of Appeal in Gent. Also the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the client from Schelstraete and Beelen because it would be against all reasonableness and fairness that the full lease price would be due when the lease agreement was prematurely terminated.

The client was represented by Mr. Luc Schelstraete from Schelstraete Advocaten (The Netherlands) and Mr. Bert Beelen from Beelen Advocaten (Belgium).

Schelstraete and Beelen are both members of the Alliance European US Asian Equine Lawyers, a collaboration between Equine Lawyers all over the world. You can find more information on https://www.europeanequinelawyers.com/.

Are you in need of advice or are you having a dispute with an party abroad? Contact us via e-mail on info@schelstraete.nl or info@europeanequinelawyers.com or call us on
+31 (0) 13 511 44 20.

Client Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (SEL) wins appeal case concerning a dispute about a swap agreement.

The seller of the horse delivered a horse to an English client of SEL which did not comply with her expectations. On the invoice was a clause which stated that she had the right to exchange the horse for another horse within a period of six. Client invoked this right and arranged with the consent of the seller the transport of the horse back to the Netherlands. After she transported the horse she did not hear from the seller again.

Because of the fact that our client lost all confidence in the seller she was claiming alternative compensation consisting of the purchase price of the horse. In breach of the agreement the seller did not deliver another horse to our client.

The seller defended herself with the statement that the horse was never delivered back to her and that client herself sold the horse in England. The lower realized purchase price was paid to client’s account and an invoice with her name on it was sent.

A peculiar course of business as our client transported the horse with a transport company partly owned by the seller and she received the message from the joint owner of the transport company that the horse was received in good order. To substantiate her claim the seller handed over a very questionable written statement of a witness.

The District Court granted the claims of our client by advanced verdict, but against all expectations the seller lodged an appeal.

Like the District Court the Dutch Court of Appeal in Den Bosch dismissed the implausible defense of the counterparty resolutely by advanced decision as well. The seller is convicted to pay to our client a substantial amount of procedural costs.

Our client was represented by Ms. Amanda Brouwers.

Link: http://deeplink.rechtspraak.nl/uitspraak?id=ECLI:NL:GHSHE:2018:5183

EUAEL International Equine Law Congress 2019

International Equine Law Congress during The Dutch Masters – Indoor Brabant

In 2019 the Dutch Masters – Indoor Brabant Horse Show in ’s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands to be held from 14 until 17 March 2019 shall again fully focus on the crème de la crème of the International Equestrian Sport.

The Dutch Masters belongs together with CHI Genève, CSIO Spruce Meadows Masters and CHIO Aachen to the Rolex Grand Slam. Of course, European US Asian Equine Lawyers could not be missed at this international top event.

EUAEL International Equine Law Congress 2019

Schelstraete Lawyers, the founder of the Alliance European US Asian Equine Lawyers, is organizing on Friday, 15 March 2019, for the first time in its history and for the first time during The Dutch Masters – Indoor Brabant the EUAEL International Equine Law Congress with the subject:

Does your horse survive the pre-purchase exam?”

Topics

Interesting subjects as International Horse Deals and the pre-Purchase Vetting will be discussed.  Non-Conformity and Consumer Sales will be a topic for discussion too and with regards to this also International Litigation will pass by. At least the subjects Doping and VAT in the Equine Industry will be discussed too.

The Dutch Masters – Indoor Brabant offers the perfect occasion to discuss these subjects.

Interested?! https://internationalequinelawcongress.com/

EUAEL Hospitality lounge

You can find European US Asian Equine Lawyers and its Alliance Partners from 14 until 17 March at its hospitality lounge in the VIP area of The Dutch Masters 2019 in the middle of 4 days of top equine sports with among others the FEI World Cup Dressage Freestyle on Saturday afternoon and the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon. The perfect opportunity for you to come and to have a chat in our hospitality lounge!

Buyer loses case because of not trying expensive jumping horse herself before purchase

A SELLER, REPRESENTED BY LUC SCHELSTRAETE, WINS CASE ABOUT EXPENSIVE JUMPING HORSE

The client of SEL sold in 2015 a horse to a Canadian stable.

At the end of 2015 the stable commissioned her trainer to search for a suitable jumping horse. The horse of the client of SEL came under the footlight of the trainer. At that moment the horse was stabled in Germany for training.

De trainer tried the horse and was very enthusiastic about the horse. In fact, during the test ride the trainer jumped 155-160 cm with the horse! De Canadian Stable never took a look at the horse nor rode the horse before the purchase. However, she received some videos of the horse from the trainer.

In January 2016 the horse was exported from Europe to Canada. The purchase price was a sum of € 650.000,-.

Almost half a year later the client of SEL received a letter of the Canadian Stable which stated that the horse wasn’t able to jump high fences, the horse does not want to be ridden on a grass surface and the horse couldn’t be transported smoothly. The Canadian Stable terminated (“ontbinden”) de purchase based on error (“dwaling”) respectively non conformity.

To rely upon non conformity it must be assessed if the horse implies with the purchase agreement at the moment of the sale and purchase.

In this case the competition results from the FEI were very clear. The horse regularly jumped a 140-160cm course so the horse is suitable for jumping that high. With regards to the transport of the horse, the Court ruled that the sole fact that the horse during its travel to Canada, in a foreign environment and without a familiar person, injured itself is not enough to conclude that the horse couldn’t be transported for long distances. Also the claim the horse doesn’t want to be ridden on a grass surface was non-substantiated. The horses competed regularly on a grass surface with very good results. Thereby, the Canadian Stable had to complain earlier and most important argument from the Court to deny the claim was the single fact that the Canadian stable didn’t test ride the horse before buying.

Thus, the claims of the Canadian stable were rejected and the by Luc Schelstraete represented client won the case.

Our Alliance is expanding with a new Alliance Partner from Canada!

 

We are very happy to welcome Julien-Pierre Côté from KSA Avocats in Québec, Canada.

KSA Avocats is a midsize firm and counts over 30 law professionals (both lawyers and notaries) in their offices in Lévis, Québec City and Trois-Rivières.

Julien-Pierre is a member of the Quebec Bar since 2005. In the recent years he has been working on developing his practice in equine law. He rode showjumpers for a few years and groomed for a racing stable in Ireland as well as a Canadian well known Olympic Rider. But his main passion is breeding and for the past 7 years he has been operating a small breeding program outside of Quebec City under the name Haras des Jardins.

 

You can find more information on https://www.europeanequinelawyers.com/alliance/ksa/

 

Katrien Beelen – Koopvernietiging in het hippisch recht

Wanneer bij aankoop van een paard achteraf blijkt dat het paard een bepaalde ziekte of afwijking heeft, of nog, wanneer het niet over de verwachte kwaliteiten beschikt, op basis waarvan kan de koopovereenkomst dan worden ontbonden of vernietigd? De bijdrage behandelt de mogelijkheid tot nietigverklaring of ontbinding van de overeenkomsten tot koop-verkoop van paarden.Eerst wordt er stilgestaan bij de wet van 25 augustus 1885, die een bijzonder regime ott Stand brengt bij de nietigverklaring van koop en ruil bij o.a. paarden. Vervolgens gaat deze bijdrage in op de Wet Consumentenkoop, de wilsgebreken dwaling en bedrog en het Weens Koopverdrag. Tot slot wordt kort de bevoegdheid behandeld.

Wet van 25 augustus 1885

Een overeenkomst tot koop of ruil kan nietig worden verklaard op grond van verborgen gebreken op basis van de artikelen 1641 e.v. van het Burgerlijk Wetboek. Een verborgen gebrek maakt de zaak ongeschikt voor het gebruik waartoe men ze normaal bestemt of vermindert het gebruik ervan aanzienlijk. Bij de koopovereenkomst van een paard moet daarbij echter rekening worden gehouden met de wet van 25 augustus 1885. Volgens artikel 1 van deze wet worden bij de verkopingen of ruilingen van paarden, ezels, muilezels en andere huisdieren die tot het schapen-, runder- of varkensras behoren, de ziekten of gebreken die door de regering vastgesteld worden, voor koopvernietigende gebreken gehouden en zullen zij alleen aanleiding geven tot de vordering voorzien bij artikel 1641 BW.

Het KB van 24 december 1987 betreffende de koopvernietigende gebreken bij verkoop of ruiling van huisdieren somt de verschillende koopvernietigende ziekten en gebreken op. Bij paarden worden slechts twee ziektes als koopvernietigende gebreken beschouwd, nl. malleus en infectieuze anemie (art. 1, 1°).

De vernietiging van een overeenkomst tot koop-verkoop of ruil van een paard op grond van de artikelen 1641 e.v. BW heeft in de praktijk dus weinig relevantie omdat een overeenkomst enkel nietig kan worden verklaard op grond van verborgen gebreken wanneer het paard één van deze twee ziektes heeft.

Het is dan ook niet verwonderlijk dat het Grondwettelijk Hof zich reeds diende uit te spreken over deze regeling. Aan het Hof werd de volgende prejudiciële vraag gesteld: “Zijn de artikelen 1 tot 12 van de wet van 25 augustus 1885 en het koninklijk uitvoeringsbesluit ervan van 24 december 1987 in overeenstemming met de artikelen 10 en 11 van de Grondwet in zoverre zij een regeling invoeren die afwijkt van het gemeen recht van artikel 11641 van het Burgerlijk Wetboek,
– doordat, inzake de verkoop van een huisdier van de paardensoort dat niet bestemd is voor een snelle slachting voor consumptiedoeleinden maar voor elk ander gebruik zoals een sportieve loopbaan, die bepalingen het instellen van de vordering tot koopvernietiging van de koper beperken door de enkele gebreken die een dergelijke vordering kunnen verantwoorden te beperken tot twee ziekten en door, op straffe van absoluut verval, een termijn van negen dagen op te leggen vanaf de dag na de levering van het dier om de vordering tot koopvernietiging in te stellen,
– terwijl inzake de verkoop van een huisdier van een andere soort dan die welke worden beoogd in de wet van 25 augustus 1885 en dat niet bestemd is voor een snelle slachting voor consumptiedoeleinden maar voor een sportieve loopbaan, zoals de honden die worden gefokt voor de windhondenrennen of de duiven die deelnemen aan wedstrijden in de duivensport, de vordering tot koopvernietiging van de koper wordt onderworpen aan de voorwaarden van de regeling van het gemeen recht van artikel 11641 van het Burgerlijk Wetboek, zowel voor wat betreft de definitie van de toelaatbare koopvernietigende gebreken als wat betreft de termijn om die vordering in te stellen?”

Het Grondwettelijk Hof beantwoordde de prejudiciële vraag ontkennend. De bij wet van 25 augustus 1885 bepaalde regeling wijkt af van de artikelen 1641 tot 1649 BW, maar zij wijkt niet af van de andere bepalingen van het Burgerlijk Wetboek inzake koop. De koper kan derhalve op grond van artikel 1110 BW een vordering tot nietigheid instellen wegens dwaling of een vordering tot ontbinding op grond van de artikelen 1184 en 1604 BW. Bovendien bieden de artikelen 1649bis tot 1649octies BW een bescherming aan de consument die voorrang moet krijgen op de bij de in het geding zijnde wet bepaalde afwijkende regeling (GwH 13 februari 2014, nr. 28/2014).

De wet van 25 augustus 1885 met zijn uitvoeringsbesluit van 24 december 1987 staat er dus niet aan in de weg dat de koopovereenkomst nietig wordt verklaard op grond van een wilsgebrek of de Wet Consumentenkoop.

Wet Consumentenkoop

Toepassingsgebied

De Wet Consumentenbescherming is integraal van toepassing op de koopovereenkomsten van paarden. Wanneer een paard gekocht wordt in het kader van een consumentenkoop, bieden artikel 1649bis tot en met artikel 1649octies BW een belangrijke bescherming ten aanzien van de consument.

Deze wetgeving is enkel van toepassing wanneer een professionele verkoper een consumptiegoed verkoopt aan een consument.

De beoordeling van wie juist een professionele verkoper dan wel een consument is, behoort tot de feitelijke appreciatie van de rechter en heeft niets te maken met het begrip ondernemer uit het handelsrecht.

Een professionele verkoper wordt gedefinieerd als iedere natuurlijke persoon of rechtspersoon die consumptiegoederen verkoopt in het kader van zijn beroepsactiviteit of zijn commerciële activiteit (art. 1649bis, § 2, 20 BW).

Volgens het Hof van Cassatie is elke persoon die op een duurzame wijze een economische activiteit ontplooit, met uitsluiting van de persoon die niet beroepshalve handelt, een verkoper in de zin van artikel 1649bis BW (Cass. 21 januari 2010, AR C.08.0482.N).

Men hoeft geen KBO-nummer of officiële registratie als handelaar te hebben om als professionele verkoper te worden beschouwd in het kader van de Wet Consumentenbescherming. Het criterium bestaat uit de vraag of de verkoop louter hobbymatig is dan wel een professioneel karakter heeft.

De vaststelling dat de verkoop op een duurzame wijze moet geschieden, impliceert dat dit moet gebeuren met een zekere regelmaat, vanuit een zekere structuur of organisatie. Een particulier die occasioneel of sporadisch een goed verkoopt, zal dus niet als een verkoper in de zin van artikel 1649bis, § 2, 2° BW beschouwd kunnen worden (R. STEENNOT, G. STRAETMANS, E. TERRYN, B. KE1RSBILCK en WYSEUR, “Overzicht van rechtspraak consumentenbescherming (2008-2014). Marktpraktijken (2011-2014)”, TPR 2015, 1806, nr. 508).

Het begrip “professionele verkoper” in de zin van de artikelen 1649bis e.v. BW valt niet noodzakelijk samen met het begrip onderneming in de zin van artikel I.1, 10 van het Wetboek van economisch recht. Artikel I.1, 1° WER definieert een onderneming als elke natuurlijke persoon of rechtspersoon die op duurzame wijze een economisch doel nastreeft, alsmede zijn verenigingen. Het gaat om het duurzaam ontplooien van een economische activiteit, met andere woorden het aanbieden van goederen of diensten op een bepaalde markt (J. STUYCK, Handels-en economisch recht. Deel 2 Mededingingsrecht. A. Handelspraktijken, Mechelen, Kluwer, 2015, 57, nr. 31).

Het hof van beroep te Antwerpen sprak zich in het kader van de verkoop van een pony uit over het begrip “professionele verkoper” in een arrest van 4 juni 2012 (Antwerpen 4 juni 2012, onuitg.). Eiseres kocht van verweerster een pony die spoedig na de aankoop een ongebruikelijk gedrag vertoonde. Uit onderzoek bleek dat het paard leed onder zomereczeem en rugproblemen had, vermoedelijk het gevolg van het zadelmak maken op een te korte periode en op een te jonge leeftijd. Eiser vorderde de prijsvermindering op grond van de Wet Consumentenkoop. De verkoper betwistte echter de pony te hebben aangeboden in het kader van een professionele activiteit. Het hof was echter van mening dat verweerster wel degelijk een professionele verkoper, minstens een feitelijk handelaar was waardoor de Wet Consumentenkoop in casu van toepassing was. Uit advertenties uitgaande van de verkoper bleek dat zij bepaalde zaken die met paArden te maken hebben, had verkocht en dat met de bedoeling hieruit een winstgevende activiteit te ontwikkelen. Het feit dat zij tewerkgesteld was als bediende, doet hieraan geen afbreuk. Gelet op de advertenties en aanbiedingen met een gespecialiseerde omkadering en omschrijving, aanvaardde het Hof niet dat de verkoop in kwestie een louter toevallige, eenmalige verkoop zou zijn geweest.

Het begrip “consument” wordt gedefinieerd als iedere natuurlijke persoon die handelt voor doeleinden die geen verband houden met zijn beroepsactiviteit of zijn commerciële activiteit (art. 1649bis, § 2, 1° BW).

Om als consument te worden beschouwd, is het niet vereist dat deze persoon handelt met doeleinden die elk beroepskarakter uitsluiten (Cass. 9 maart 2018, AR C.17.0065.F). Ook aankopen verricht door een natuurlijk persoon voor een gemengd gebruik kunnen dus binnen het toepassingsgebied van de wet vallen wanneer het aangekochte goed hoofdzakelijk voor private doelen wordt gebruikt (Antwerpen 30 juni 2009, NjW 2010, 504, noot R. STEENNOT).

Er kan nog worden opgemerkt dat het loutere feit dat een consument ingeschreven is bij de Kruispuntbank van Ondernemingen niet volstaat als bewijs dat hij het consumptiegoed heeft verkregen in het kader van zijn beroepsactiviteit (Bergen 10 september 2015, TBBR 2016, 462).

Ten slotte moet een “consumptiegoed” worden verkocht. Ook een paard is een consumptiegoed in de zin van artikel 1649bis, § 2, 30 BW, aangezien ook dieren roerende lichamelijke goederen zijn (Gent 2 mei 2012, DCCR 2012, 101; Bergen 15 december 2010, DCCR 2012, 117; Rb. Dinant 16 oktober 20l3, JLMB 2014,237; Vred. Antwerpen 11 december 2014, RW2015-16, 1429).

Wanneer de Wet Consumentenkoop van toepassing is, is de verkoper garantieplichtig voor elk gebrek aan overeenstemming dat bestond bij de levering van het paard en dat zich manifesteert binnen een termijn van twee jaar vanaf de levering (art 1649quater,§ 1, eerste en derde lid BW). Als dit gebrek zich manifesteert binnen de 6 maanden na de levering, wordt het gebrek overeenkomstig artikel 1649quater, paragraaf 4 BW vermoed te hebben bestaan op het tijdstip van de levering.

Zo oordeelde het hof van beroep te Gent in een arrest van 2 mei 2012 (Gent 2 mei 2012, DCCI? 2012, 101) over volgende feiten. Een vrouw kocht voor haar 13-jarige dochter een rijpaard. Een maand na de koopovereenkomst ging de dochter op de openbare weg rijden met het paard. Het paard steigerde voor de aankomende voertuigen. De dochter durfde sindsdien niet meer met het paard rijden en het paard werd op stal geplaatst. In casu was de Wet Consumentenkoop van toepassing, aangezien de verkopers het paard verkochten in het kader van de uitbating van hun handelszaak en de koopster het paard had aangekocht binnen de private sfeer als geschenk voor haar 13-jarige dochter. Door de rechter in eerste aanleg werd een gerechtsdeskundige aangesteld, die tot de bevinding kwam dat het paard een (intrinsiek) karakterieel gebrek vertoonde, aangezien het zicht agressief en onvoorzienbaar gedroeg in de stal en wanneer het werd bereden. Het hof besloot dat het paard niet geschikt was om door een 13-jarige ruiter te worden bereden en dat deze bestemming de verkoper genoegzaam bekend was en ontbond de overeenkomst.

Ook de rechtbank van eerste aanleg te Leuven ontbond de koopovereenkomst van een paard op basis van de Wet Consumentenkoop (Rb. Leuven 27 januari 2016, onuitg-.). Eiseres kocht als consument een paard van een professionele paardenhandelaar. Het betreffende paard was bestemd voor jumping op amateurniveau. Kort na de levering bleek het paard niet te willen springen, zelfs niet over beperkte hindernissen. Het stopte bij het nemen van een sprong, ook als het werd bereden door een professionele ruiter. De verkoper beweerde dat het feit dat het paard niet (meer) sprong, een gevolg zou zijn van de castratie die kort voor de levering had plaatsgevonden. De rechtbank was echter van oordeel dat de verkoper dit niet aantoonde en dat hij als professioneel verkoper, terwijl de eiser een “consument” is, de koper had moeten meedelen dat een castratie gevolgen zou kunnen hebben gehad voor de prestaties/springcapaciteiten van het paard. De vordering tot ontbinding van de koopovereenkomst ten laste van de verweerder wegens niet-conforme levering werd gegrond verklaard.

Lex specialis

De regels met betrekking tot de Wet Consumentenkoop vormen een lex specialis t.a.v. de gemeenrechtelijke regels van de artikelen 1640 e.v. BW aangaande de verborgen gebreken en tevens t.a.v. de wet van 25 augustus 1885. Dit wil zeggen dat ook buiten de opgesomde gebreken in de wet van 1885, een overeenkomst in het kader van de Wet Consumentenkoop ontbonden kan worden. Dit werd bevestigd in het bovenvermelde arrest van het Grondwettelijk Hof van 13 februari 2014.

Wilsgebreken

De koopovereenkomst van een paard kan ook nietig worden verklaard op grond van de wilsgebreken dwaling en bedrog. Uiteraard kan ook een beroep worden gedaan op het wilsgebrek geweld (art. 1111 BW), maar dit zal in de praktijk minder relevant zijn.

De wet van 25 augustus 1885 en de gemeenrechtelijke wilsgebreken

De afwijkende regeling van de wet van 25 augustus 1885 doet geen afbreuk aan deze gemeenrechtelijke regeling (F. VRANKEN, Koop en ruil van dieren, Gent, Story-Scientia, 1979, 193-212, nrs. 290-313). Dit werd reeds bevestigd door, zowel het Grondwettelijk Hof in het reeds aangehaalde arrest van 13 februari 2014, als door het Hof van Cassatie. Het Hof van Cassatie stelde in zijn arrest van 8 mei 2014 uitdrukkelijk met betrekking tot het wilsgebrek bedrog: “De bepaling dat een gebrek dat niet als koopvernietigend gebrek is opgenomen in artikel 1 van het koninklijk besluit van 24 december 1987 betreffende de koopvernietigende gebreken bij de verkoop of ruiling van huisdieren geen aanleiding kan geven tot een vordering tot vrijwaring op grond van artikel 11641 Burgerlijk Wetboek, staat niet eraan in de weg dat zulk gebrek aanleiding geeft tot een vordering tot vernietiging van de koopovereenkomst wegens een bedrieglijke verzwijging van dit gebrek op grond van artikel 11116 Burgerlijk Wetboek” (Cass. (lste k.) 8 mei 2014, AR C.13.0022.N).

De rechtspraak paste dit principe al reeds langer toe. Zo bevestigde het hof van beroep te Brussel dat de koper de keuze heeft, hetzij de koopvernietiging te vragen overeenkomstig de voorschriften van de wet van 3 juli 1894, die artikel 13 van de wet van 25 augustus 1885 verving, hetzij de nietigheid van de verkoop te vervolgen overeenkomstig de bepalingen van het gemeen recht, in welk geval de rechtsregels van de wetten van 25 augustus 1885 en 3 juli 1894 niet hoeven te worden nageleefd (Brussel 23 maart 1983, RW 1985-86, 685).

De rechtbank van koophandel te Hasselt aanvaarde dat een koop-verkoopovereenkomst kan worden vernietigd op grond van dwaling als een ziekte niet valt onder de toepassing van de wet van 25 augustus 1885 op de koopvernietigende gebreken bij dieren (Kh. Hasselt 20 november 1991, Limb.Rechtsl. 1994, 102, noot). De vrederechter te Hasselt bepaalde het volgende: “De koper van een dier dat aangetast is door een ernstige ziekte die niet is opgenomen in het KB van 24 december 1987 betreffende de koopvernietigende gebreken, ter uitvoering van de wet van 25 augustus 1885, is gerechtigd de ontbinding van de koop te vorderen wegens een verborgen niet-conforme levering” (Vred. Hasselt 15 september 2004, RW 2006, 777). Tot slot kan ook nog worden verwezen naar een vonnis van de rechtbank te Hoei waarbij vastgesteld werd dat de koper de ontbinding van de koop kan vorderen op grond van dwaling wanneer een dier aangetast is door een ernstige ziekte die niet is opgenomen in de wet van 25 augustus 1885. Immers, “de wet van 1885 doet in niets afbreuk aan de algemene regels van het BFK doch heeft enkel, voor welbepaalde gevallen, een bijzondere procedure in het leven geroepen” (Rb. Hoei 2 mei 1973, TL 1972-73, 301).

Dwaling

Een overeenkomst kan nietig worden verklaard op grond van dwaling, wanneer gedwaald

wordt over de zelfstandigheid van de zaak, die het voorwerp van de overeenkomst uitmaakt. Artikel 1110 BW bepaalt hieromtrent het volgende:

“Dwaling is alleen dan een oorzaak van nietigheid van de overeenkomst, wanneer zij de zelfstandigheid betreft van de zaak die het voorwerp van de overeenkomst uitmaakt.
Zij is geen oorzaak van nietigheid, wanneer zij alleen de persoon betreft met wie men bedoelde te handelen, tenzij de overeenkomst hoofdzakelijk uit aanmerking van deze persoon is aangegaan”.

Dwaling kan worden gedefinieerd als “een niet-uitgelokte verkeerde voorstelling van de werkelijkheid die een partij bij een contract heeft aangaande een bestanddeel van de overeenkomst, op het ogenblik dat zij die overeenkomst sluit” (A. DE BOECK en J. WAELKENS, “Dwaling” in Bijzondere overeenkomsten. Artikelsgewijze commentaar met overzicht van rechtspraak en rechtsleer, bijgewerkt tot 1 september 2017, 191, nr. 3).

Opdat dwaling als wilsgebrek in aanmerking kan komen, dient zij betrekking te hebben op de zelfstandigheid van de zaak (Cass. 31 oktober 1966, Arr.Cass. 1967, 301; Cass. 3 maart 1967, Arr.Cass. 1967, 829; Cass. 27 oktober 1995, Arr:Cass. 1995, 920). De zelfstandigheid van de zaak is ieder element dat de partij er hoofdzakelijk toe bewogen heeft het contract aan te gaan, zodanig dat zonder dit de overeenkomst niet tot stand zou zijn gekomen (Cass. 23 januari 2014, AR C.13.0114.N).

Bovendien moet de dwaling verschoonbaar zijn, wat betekent dat ieder redelijk mens de dwaling zou hebben begaan (Cass. 28 november 2013, AR C.12.0556.N).

De veterinaire keuring van een paard bij aankoop is geenszins een verplichting en in het algemeen kan men van een contractant niet vereisen dat hij zich zou laten bijstaan door een deskundige op het moment van de aankoop (Luik 11 december 1989, Act. dr 1991, 210). Zelfs wanneer een contractant zich laat bijstaan door een deskundige en zich vergist, kan de dwaling nog verschoonbaar zijn (R KRUITHOF, BOCKEN, F. DE LY en B. DE TEMMERMAN, “Overzicht van rechtspraak (1981-1992). Verbintenissen”, TPR 1994, 339).

Zo zou er sprake kunnen zijn van dwaling indien een koper een paard koopt om hiermee deel te nemen aan jumpingwedstrijden op een hoog niveau. Als hij deze doelstelling bekendmaakt aan de verkoper op het moment van de verkoop, behoort deze eigenschap tot de zelfstandigheid van de zaak Als de verkoper vervolgens niet kenbaar maakt aan de koper dat het paard enkele jaren voordien een medische aandoening heeft gehad en achteraf blijkt dat het paard door deze aandoening niet op een hoog niveau kan deelnemen aan jumpingwedstrijden, heeft de koper gedwaald over de zelfstandigheid van de zaak als ieder redelijke persoon gedacht zou hebben dat deze aandoening de deelname aan jumpingwedstrijden op een hoog niveau niet zou in de weg staan.

Bij dwaling dient de koper immers te bewijzen dat het gebrek of de ziekte bestond op het ogenblik van de verkoop. Hij kan geen beroep doen op een wettelijk vermoeden. Een uitgebreid overzicht van oude rechtspraak die een overeenkomst nietig verklaart op grond van dwaling, is te vinden bij F. VRANKEN (F. VRANKEN, Koop en ruil van dieren, Gent, Story-Scientia, 1979, 199-204, nrs. 298-302bis).

Bedrog

Daarnaast kan een overeenkomst ook nietig worden verklaard op grond van het wilsgebrek bedrog:

“Bedrog is een oorzaak van nietigheid van de overeenkomst, wanneer de kunstgrepen, door een van de partijen gebezigd, van dien aard zijn dat de andere partij zonder die kunstgrepen klaarblijkelijk het contract niet zou hebben aangegaan. Bedrog wordt niet vermoed, het moet worden bewezen” (art. 1116 BW).

Opdat er sprake zou zijn van bedrog, dient zowel een materieel element als een intentioneel element te worden bewezen. Bedrog veronderstelt dat de mede-contractant kunstgrepen (materieel element) aanwendt om de andere partij tot contracteren te bewegen (intentioneel element).

Enerzijds moet de mede-contractant dus kunstgrepen aanwenden. Kunstgrepen kunnen bestaan uit positieve handelingen of daden, zoals leugens (R. DEKKERS en VERBEKE, Handboek burgerlijk recht. Deel III. Verbintenissen, bewijsleer, gebruikelijke contracten, Antwerpen, Intersentia, 2007, 30, nr. 48). Ook de verzwijging van een partij bij het sluiten van een overeenkomst kan in bepaalde gevallen bedrog opleveren in de zin van artikel 1116 BW wanneer zij betrekking heeft op een feit dat, indien de wederpartij ervan op de hoogte was geweest, ertoe zou geleid hebben dat zij de overeenkomst niet zou hebben gesloten of ze tegen een goedkopere prijs zou hebben gesloten (Cass. 16 september 1999, TBBR 2000, 688; Cass. 17 februari 2012, Arr.Cass. 2012, 397).

Anderzijds moet de list tot contracteren bewegen. Dit wil zeggen dat zonder het bedrog de tegenpartij niet zou hebben gecontracteerd (R. DEKKERS enA. VERBEKE, Handboek burgerlijk recht. Deel III. Verbintenissen, bewijsleer, gebruikelijke contracten, Antwerpen, Intersentia, 2007, 30, nr. 48). Bij bedrog draagt de koper aldus een zeer zware bewijslast, aangezien hij ook het bedrieglijk inzicht van de verkoper moet bewijzen, nl. het oogmerk om te misleiden.

Wanneer een verkoper bijvoorbeeld moedwillig verzwijgt dat een paard aan een bepaalde medische aandoening lijdt, zoals `kissing spines’ of hoefkatrol, dan kan de overeenkomst worden vernietigd op grond van bedrog. Er kan ook worden gedacht aan de situatie waarbij de verkoper wedstrijdresultaten of medische verslagen vervalst.

Het Weens Koopverdrag

Tot slot voorziet het Weens Koopverdrag (hierna CISG) nog een bijzonder regime voor koopovereenkomsten betreffende roerende zaken, gesloten tussen een koper en een verkoper die in verschillende staten gevestigd zijn. Indien beide staten partij zijn bij het CISG of wanneer volgens de regels van internationaal privaatrecht het recht van een verdragsluitende staat van toepassing is en de toepasselijkheid van het verdrag niet conventioneel werd uitgesloten, is dit regime van toepassing (art. 1 CISG). Het CISG is niet van toepassing op de koop van roerende zaken die gekocht worden voor persoonlijk gebruik of voor gebruik in gezin of huishouding, tenzij de verkoper te eniger tijd voor of bij het sluiten van de overeenkomst niet wist of had behoren te weten dat de zaken voor zodanig gebruik werden gekocht (art. 2, a) CISG).

Indien een paard om professionele doeleinden wordt verkocht tussen twee partijen die in verschillende staten (die partij zijn bij het CISG) gevestigd zijn, zal het CISG van toepassing zijn op deze overeenkomst.

Op grond van het CISG kan een koopovereenkomst worden ontbonden of kan een schadevergoeding worden gevorderd op basis van niet-conformiteit. Artikel 35, eerste lid CISG verplicht de verkoper om zaken af te leveren waarvan de hoeveelheid, de kwaliteit en de omschrijving voldoen aan de in de overeenkomst gestelde eisen en die zijn verpakt op de in de overeenkomst vereiste wijze.

Indien de overeenkomst uitdrukkelijk vermeldt dat het paard aan bepaalde kwaliteiten dient te voldoen, bijvoorbeeld dat het geschikt moet zijn om aan jumpingwedstrijden deel te nemen, zal het paard niet conform zijn wanneer het niet over deze kwaliteiten beschikt.

Vervolgens voorziet artikel 35, tweede lid CISG in vier subsidiaire regels die van toepassing zijn indien partijen niets anders overeenkwamen (S. DE GROOT, “Non-conformiteit volgens het Weens Koopverdrag. Een onderzoek naar de al dan niet uniforme wijze waarop rechters van verdragsstaten de artikelen 35, 38, 39, 40 en 44 van het CISG interpreteren en toepassen”, TPR 1999, 643):

“Tenzij partijen anders zijn overeengekomen, beantwoorden de zaken slechts dan aan de overeenkomst, indien zij:

a) geschikt zijn voor de doeleinden waarvoor zaken van dezelfde omschrijving gewoonlijk zouden worden gebruikt;

b) geschikt zijn voor een bijzonder doel dat uitdrukkelijk of stilzwijgend aan de verkoper ter kennis is gebracht op het tijdstip van het sluiten van de overeenkomst, tenzij uit de omstandigheden blijkt dat de koper niet vertrouwde of redelijkerwijs niet mocht vertrouwen op de vakbekwaamheid en het oordeel van de verkoper;

c) de hoedanigheden bezitten van zaken die de verkoper als monster of model aan dekoper heeft aangeboden;

d) zijn verpakt op de voor zodanige zaken gebruikelijke wijze of indien er hiervoor geen gangbare handelwijze bestaat, op een met het oog op bescherming en behoud van de zaken passende wijze.”

Ook wanneer partijen niet in de overeenkomst omschreven aan welke kwaliteiten het paard diende te voldoen, kan er sprake zijn van niet-conformiteit als het paard niet geschikt blijkt te zijn voor gewoonlijk gebruik van een paard of wanneer het paard niet geschikt is voor een bijzonder gebruik dat uitdrukkelijk of stilzwijgend aan de verkoper ter kennis is gebracht op het tijdstip van het sluiten van de overeenkomst.
Artikel 35, derde lid CISG bepaalt nog dat de verkoper niet aansprakelijk is ingevolge het in het voorgaande lid onder a), d) bepaalde voor het niet-beantwoorden van de zaken aan de overeenkomst, indien de koper op het tijdstip van het sluiten van de overeenkomst wist of had behoren te weten dat de zaken niet aan de overeenkomst beantwoorden.

Het CISG vereist geen wezenlijke niet-conformiteit. Het is aldus irrelevant om te onderzoeken of de niet-conformiteit de bruikbaarheid, de verhandelbaarheid of de waarde van de goederen aantast (13. TILLEMAN, Beginselen van Belgisch Privaatrecht X Overeenkomsten. Deel 2 Bijzondere overeenkomsten. A Verkoop, deel 2 Gevolgen van de koop, Antwerpen, Kluwer, 2011, 444, nr. 533). De impact van de niet-conformiteit is echter wel relevant voor de gevolgen van de niet-conformiteit. De koper kan immers enkel de ontbinding van de koopovereenkomst vorderen in geval van een wezenlijke tekortkoming vanwege de verkoper (art. 49 CISG).

Artikel 38 CISG verplicht de koper om de zaken binnen een, gelet op de omstandigheden, zo kort mogelijke termijn te keuren of te doen keuren. Deze keuring kan gebeuren door de koper of door zijn aangestelden (B. TILLEMAN, Beginselen van Belgisch Privaatrecht X Overeenkomsten. Deel 2 Bijzondere overeenkomsten. A Verkoop, deel 2 Gevolgen van de koop, Antwerpen, Kluwer, 2011, 499, nr. 591). Vervolgens dient de koper binnen redelijke termijn nadat hij de non-conformiteit heeft ontdekt of had behoren te ontdekken de verkoper hiervan in kennis te stellen onder opgave van de aard van de tekortkoming (art. 39, eerste lid CISG). In ieder geval moet de koper zich binnen een termijn van twee jaar na de datum waarop de zaken feitelijk aan de koper werden afgegeven, de verkoper in kennis stellen dat de zaken niet aan de overeenkomst beantwoorden, tenzij er in de overeenkomst een andere garantietermijn werd opgenomen (art. 39, tweede lid CISG). Het protest kan zowel schriftelijk als mondeling gebeuren, aangezien artikel 39 CISG geen vormvereisten voorziet (S. DE GROOT, “Non-conformiteit volgens het Weens Koopverdrag. Een onderzoek naar de al dan niet uniforme wijze waarop rechters van verdragsstaten de artikelen 35, 38, 39, 40 en 44 van het CISG interpreteren en toepassen”, TPR 1999, 667).

Wanneer de niet-conformiteit vaststaat, kan de koper zich op verschillende remedies beroepen. De koper kan een vordering instellen tot nakoming van de verbintenis van de verkoper (art. 46-47 CISG), hij kan zijn eigen prestatie opschorten, de ontbinding vorderen (art. 49 CISG), de prijsvermindering vragen (art. 50 CISG) of een schadevergoeding eisen overeenkomstig de artikelen 74 tot 77 CISG.

Bevoegdheid

Overeenkomstig artikel 591, 150 van het Gerechtelijk Wetboek behoort het tot de bijzondere bevoegdheid van de vrederechter om, ongeacht het bedrag, kennis te nemen van de vorderingen tot koopvernietiging en de vorderingen tot nietigverklaring op grond van een gebrek van de zaak, bij verkoop of ruiling van dieren. Ook wanneer de nietigverklaring van de koopovereenkomst wordt gevorderd op grond van dwaling of bedrog, zal de vrederechter bijgevolg bevoegd zijn.

Wanneer het daarentegen gaat om een vordering tot ontbinding op grond van de Wet Consumentenkoop, behoort het niet tot de bijzondere bevoegdheid van de vrederechter om hier kennis van te nemen. Het is in dit geval de rechtbank van eerste aanleg die op basis van zijn volheid van bevoegdheid bevoegd zal zijn om uitspraak te doen over deze vordering (art. 568 Ger.W.).

Vaak wordt echter, zowel de ontbinding van de koopovereenkomst gevraagd op grond van de Wet Consumentenkoop, als de nietigverklaring van de overeenkomst op grond van dwaling en bedrog. Wanneer het gaat om samenhangende vorderingen, zal het ook de rechtbank van eerste aanleg zijn die bevoegd is op basis van artikel 566 Ger.W, jo. artikel 565, 2° Ger.W. De bevoegdheid van de vrederechter op grond van artikel 591, 15° Ger.W. is immers een bijzondere bevoegdheid en geen uitsluitende (F. VRANKEN, Koop en ruil van dieren, Gent, Story-Scientia, 1979, 186, nr. 283).

Wanneer het gaat om de verkoop van een paard tussen ondernemingen en bijgevolg een daad van koophandel gesteld wordt, is de rechtbank van koophandel bevoegd om kennis te nemen van dit geschil (art. 573 Ger.W.; Kh. Turnhout 13 januari 2016, RW2016-17, 272).

Het vredegerecht te Meise was echter een andere mening toegedaan. De vrederechter achtte zich wel bevoegd om uitspraak te doen over vorderingen tot nietigverklaring inzake de verkoop van een paard tussen twee kooplieden. Volgens de vrederechter zijn de bijzondere bevoegdheden opgesomd in artikel 591 Ger.W. niet alleen van toepassing “ongeacht het bedrag van de eis” maar eveneens “ongeacht de hoedanigheid van de partijen” (Vred. Meise 23 februari 2006, onuitg.).

Wat de territoriale bevoegdheid betreft, kan de vordering naar keuze van de eiser worden gebracht voor de rechtbank van de woonplaats van de verweerder of voor rechter van de plaats waar de verbintenissen zijn ontstaan of moeten worden uitgevoerd (art. 624 Ger.W.).

Katrien BEELEN

Bron: Tijdschrift voor Agrarisch Recht

Provisional suspension and disqualification due to contaminated hay

The Person Responsible is a jumping rider for Ireland and took part with his Horse at the CSI5* GCT/GCT in Hamburg, Germany.  Samples for testing were taken from the Horse on 27 may 2017.

The banned substance Demecolcine was found in the A sample of the Horse. Demecolcine is used for Rheumatic treatment and Chemotherapy and is classified as a banned substance under the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List. The Person Responsible and the Horse both had imposed a Provisional Suspension of two months.

Since the proceeding were opened Demecolcine was reclassified on the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List as a **Specified Substance on 1 January 2018. Demecolcine is a metabolites of the Autumn Crocus and therefore can enter the Horse’s system through contaminated hay.

The most likely plausible explanation for how the Substance entered the Horse’s system is contamination of Autumn Crocus in the feed at the Event. Further, there are other cases from 2017 in which the Horse also ate the hay at the event.

The FEI agreed the Person Responsible bore no fault or negligence for the Substance in the Horse’s system. The Person Responsible and the Horse were automatically disqualified from the event but the FEI ruled that no further sanctions should be imposed.

Information on all substances is available on https://inside.fei.org/fei/cleansport/ad-h/prohibited-list. Further information on this case can be found on https://inside.fei.org/fei/your-role/athletes/fei-tribunal/ead-decisions

Received a letter from the FEI yourself? Please contact us and we are happy to give you advice and represent you in the procedure with the FEI. You can reach us via info@schelstraete.nl or +31 (0)13 511 44 20.

Source: www.fei.org

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers wins first digital case

The dispute

An international jumping rider from Kuwait had a shared ownership in seven horses and three foals together with a Dutch Stable. After spending the summer in The Netherlands for training, the client of SEL decided to go back to Kuwait and sell his ownership shares in the horses to the Dutch Stable in order to get the full ownership of the horses. Parties therefore signed a written agreement.

After being back in Kuwait the client of SEL had to conclude that the Dutch table wasn’t going to pay him for the ownership shares. That is why SEL submitted the case to the Court Gelderland, location Arnhem.

Digital case

Since September 1st, 2017 attorneys are obliged to submit their procedures at the Court Gelderland and the Court Midden-Nederland via a digital program called “KEI”. The aim of “KEI” is to make the law more understandable and the procedures quicker.    

In this case the Court ruled in favor of SEL’s client via digital judgement that the Dutch Stable is obliged to fulfil her payment for the ownership shares in the horses as agreed in the signed agreement.

U can read more about “KEI” and the digital procedure on www.rechtspraak.nl

The client was represented by Mr. P.M. Wawrzyniak as litigator at the Court and Ms. C.M. van Zundert from Schelstraete Equine lawyers.

If you have any questions or if you are having a dispute yourself, please don’t hesitate to contact us via info@schelstraete.nl or +31 (0)13 511 44 20, we are happy to assist you.

Agent Liability and Personal Liability of Company Director Who Sold a De-Nerved Horse as a Sporthorse for €320.000

Buyer, a German legal entity, bought a mare from Seller, a Dutch legal entity, for € 320.000. The rider of the horse acted as the agent in the sale.

The purchase agreement implied, that the horse was bought with the intention to use it as a competition horse.

Shortly after purchase the horse turned out to be lame and the veterinarian noticed that the horse had been de-nerved, (A.k.a. Neurectomy, which is a type of nerve block involving the severing or removal of a nerve) and the horse could no longer be used as a competition horse.

First Instance

Buyer annulled the purchase agreement on grounds of mistake and the court in first instance (2011), ordered Seller to take back the horse and to refund the purchase price within 48 hours after judgment.

Seller first declared she would pay back the purchase price however ultimately she did not fulfill her payment obligation and nine months later informed Buyer that she was not able to refund the purchase price because there are no assets left in the company.

Court of Appeal – Director’s liability

Since Seller was unable to effect the payment to Buyer, the refund was claimed from the director of Seller, The Company,

The court indicated that the director of a legal entity (even a limited liability company) can, if the claim of a creditor remains unpaid, be held liable for compensation if he has acted carelessly.

The Court of Appeal therefore ruled that The Company, Management Company B.V. and [Seller 3], as (indirect) directors of Seller, acted negligently towards Buyer in such a way that they can be personally blamed for this, because:

– either, Seller still has sufficient assets or financing capacity to fulfill its obligations to refund, but have failed to use these assets to fulfill her obligation,

– or, while the capital required for the fulfillment of its obligations to Buyer was still present in Seller in 2011, they as directors, had withdrawn it from Seller and thus ensured that this capital was no longer available to refund Buyer.

Liability Agent

With regard to the agent, the Court of Appeal ruled that he had acted unlawfully against Buyer by giving incorrect and / or incomplete information to the vet about the medical history of the horse during the horse´s pre-purchase inspection and ordered the agent to pay damages amounting to € 36,212.54.

This is because when the veterinarian asked about the medical history of the horse, the agent did not disclose information about the treatment and lameness of the horse. The Court argued that an agent who has relevant information about the horse is expected to share this information with the buyer, at least if asked about it.

Source: https://uitspraken.rechtspraak.nl/inziendocument?id=ECLI:NL:GHDHA:2017:3209

Horse With Sweet Itch Declared Non-Conform: Purchase Agreement was Dissolved and Damages Awarded

In this most recent case won by Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (SEL) before the Court of Appeal in The Hague, a horse, which was sold to be a dressage horse, turned out to have sweet itch (also known as: SSRD or summer itch). Sweet itch is a chronic, season-related skin allergy which often shows as rash-looking sores on the horses body.

Unsuitable for Sport

The sweet itch was severe and made the horse very sensitive and difficult to ride. Veterinarians affirmed that horses with sweet itch are less suitable to be performing physical work as sweating may cause severe itching. Some horses might even not be able to have a saddle on.

Judgment of the Court of Appeal

SEL were able to prove that the horse had sweet itch already before it was sold and it appeared that the seller was aware of this but did not communicate it to the buyer. The Court of Appeal agreed with SEL´s argumentation and ruled that the horse was non-conform, as it is not fit as a sport horse. On the basis of this, SEL´s client could dissolve the contract and receive the money she paid for the horse back.

SEL´s client was also awarded damages for stabling costs, transport and treatment of the horse.

The buyer was represented by Ms. Amanda Brouwers from Schelstraete Equine Lawyers

Image: TDS-saddlers.com

Alleged Neurectomy Case Won by Schelstraete Equine Lawyers

Graphic from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Source


In the case at hand Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (SEL) assisted the seller of a horse. Prior to the realization of the purchase agreement the horse was inspected at the request of the buyer, which resulted in a positive sales advice from the vet. A year after the purchase of the horse, the buyer reported to the seller (our client) that her veterinarian suspected that the horse had undergone a neurectomy procedure. (This is a type of nerve block involving the severing or removal of a nerve, also commonly called de-nerving).

According to the counterparty, due to the neurectomy, the horse would not be suitable for the purpose for which it had been purchased: to partake in FEI dressage competitions. According to FEI rules, a horse which has undergone neurectomy procedure may not participate in FEI competitions.

In the legal proceedings the buyer claimed termination or annulment of the purchase agreement, whereby both the purchase price and damage suffered as a consequence were claimed.

The judge rejected the claims of the buyer. The judge agreed that indeed the FEI rules state that a horse may not participate in FEI competitions after neurectomy is performed, however, it is up to the buyer to prove that competing in FEI competitions was the intention of the agreement and the purpose of the horse. The court ruled that the counterparty failed to prove that the intention with the purchase and purpose of the horse was to partake in FEI competitions.

For this reason, the question whether or not a neurectomy procedure had been performed was left unanswered. Whether or not a neurectomy had been performed was unimportant as even if it had been performed, this does not stand in the way of using the horse for recreational purposes as seemed to be the case in the case at hand.

Our client was represented by mr. Luc Schelstraete and mr. Amanda Brouwers

Schelstraete C.S. Advocaten wins procedure: claim of buyer of horse about an alleged problem in the coffin bone is rejected

Above Hoof Illustration by Elisa Crees.


SEL represented the seller of the horse, she owned the horse for more than 20 years. Seller stated that the horse was never lame and always sound. Due to personal issues in life seller decided to sell the horse to the son of a friend of her. A full vet check was performed, advice: ‘acceptable risk’. No MRI-scan was performed. A couple of days after delivery a farrier treated the horse and attached new shoes. A few days later the horse was suddenly lame when lunged. The buyer brought the horse to the vet and because of the fact the horse did not recover within a couple of weeks a MRI-scan was performed. Outcome? Damage of the bone oedema in the coffin bone. The horse was not suitable as a dressage sport horse now and in the future.  

The buyer annulled the agreement and claimed damages from the seller, the client of SEL, as well as the vet, stating that the horse did not comply with the agreement. Only a couple of weeks after the delivery the opinion of the vet was that the horse was not suitable as a dressage sport horse, while the buyer bought the horse as a sport horse.

The Court dismissed all claims and the client of SEL won the case. There was no consumer purchase and the buyer did not prove sufficiently that the horse suffered from the injury in the coffin bone at the moment of delivery. Also the claims of the buyer against the vet were dismissed: performance of a MRI-scan is not standard during a pre-purchase examination so there was no professional misconduct at the side of the vet. The problem of the buyer was that the lesion in the coffin bone could be the result of a long term progressive condition or the result of an acute injury. As there is no consumer purchase the buyer needs to convince the judge that the problem was there at the moment of delivery. When an injury could have multiple causes the risk of not being able to prove the exact cause is on the buyer.  

The client was represented by Luc Schelstraete and Amanda Brouwers.

Schelstraete Equine Lawyer’s wins appeal in summary proceedings regarding the inaccurate seizure of client’s horses as well

In August 2017 Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (SEL) needed to file a summary proceeding before the court of Zeeland-West-Brabant to fight the inaccurate seizure of the horses of Mr. van der Endt, a client from SEL. Mr. van der Endt returned home from his holiday, only to find out that his two horses had been seized by a bailiff. Mr. van der Endt as well as SEL contacted the bailiff to inform her that Mr. van der Endt was the owner of the horses and substantiated the ownership with documents. Despite this substantiated claim the bailiff refused to release the seized horses.

SEL won the case but the bailiff filed an appeal against the Court decisions. The questions is why. She did not file a complaint against the decision of the Court regarding the lift of the seizure on the horses, but only complaint against the fact that Mr. van der Endt filed a summary proceeding against the bailiff office (and her as a bailiff) next to the seizures of the horses as well.

The Court of Appeal judged that the bailiff office did not have a legal interest in filing the appeal against the verdict of the Court and rejected – after pleadings of both lawyers – the appeal of the bailiff office. The bailiff office was convicted in the procedural costs of Mr. van der Endt again. Another victory for Mr. van der Endt in this case. SEL is now busy preparing a lawsuit against the seizures of the horses as well as the non-cooperative bailiff to claim damages.”

The suspension of Sanne Thijssen has been lifted, effective immediately

The suspension of half a year, which show jumper Sanne Thijssen received from the FEI last week, has been lifted with immediate effect. However, the involvement of equine lawyer, Luc Schelstraete, was necessary.

The suspension was lifted after that Matthew O’Donell, the veterinarian who euthanized Sanne´s horse, Sara Galotière, in Liverpool, now declared that he used ketamine to anesthetize the mare before euthanizing her.

Turmoil and misunderstanding

“We are shocked that this has not been clarified earlier”, says Mr. Schelstraete. “This has of course caused a lot of turmoil and misunderstanding, but also damage.”

Veterinarian admits to FEI

It is very common that ketamine is given by euthanasia to calm and anesthetize the horse before a lethal substance is injected. Initially, the veterinarian in question stated that he had not given ketamine, but he has now admitted in a statement to the FEI that he did indeed use the substance.

Automatic suspension

The FEI automatically suspends the rider allegedly involved in doping and use of banned substances.

Source: Horses.nl

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers Wins Dispute Clarifying When a Buyer is Considered Professional and When a Consumer

The opposing parties, an international rider and her Canadian equine company, purchased a horse from our client in The Netherlands. The opposing parties, who are now disputing the agreement, claimed that they bought the horse in the capacity of a consumer and that therefore the extensive consumer protection rights should apply to the case as well as that the Subdistrict Court (Kantonrechter) should be competent to hear the case.

Before substantiating the defense, Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (SEL) raised a jurisdictional incident with which the competence of the Subdistrict Court was disputed through arguing that the purchase was not a consumer purchase.

No Consumer Sale

A consumer is defined as any natural person who is acting for purposes which are not related to his trade, business or profession.

SEL put forward two main arguments disputing that it was a consumer sale and thus claimed that the Subdistrict Court is not competent to hear the case.

Firstly, it was reasoned that it was not the international rider who bought the horse but her equine company. This company was the party which was invoiced and which also fulfilled the payment for the horse.

Secondly, SEL added that even if the international rider would have been the buying party, it still would not necessarily mean that there was a consumer purchase since this rider is professionally operating in the equestrian business sphere by being the owner of the equine company which is active in breeding, competing, training and trading horses. Therefore, the purchase of the horse privately would be for the purpose which relates to the buyers trade, business or profession.

The Judgment

The Court agreed with SEL’s line of argumentation and stated that it is no consumer sale. It was verified that the invoice and payment went through the company and further the court stated that even if it would have been established that the horse was bought by the international rider and only sponsored by her company for the benefit of the opposing party, the court could still not conclude that this rider was purchasing in the capacity of a natural person who is acting for purposes which are not related to his trade, business or profession.

On these grounds the court declared itself not competent to further hear the case and referred the case to the Commercial Court in The Hague.

The client was represented by Ms. Britt Loeffen and Mr. Luc Schelstraete of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers

The court of Appeal in ‘s-Hertogenbosch rules in favor of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’ clients in case regarding breeding and purchase of embryos

Contractual agreement

Schelstraete’s clients contracted with the breeder for an embryo where a living foal as a result of the breeding was promised.

The clients decided the breeding lines and informed the breeder. The breeder was to flush the embryo and transfer it to a surrogate mare. The breeder stated that several attempts to flush the embryo were not successful and as a result there was no foal.

Mare pregnant with requested foal

It did however turn out later on that the breeder did manage to breed a foal out of the same mare and sire as the client had contracted for. The breeder did however not want to hand over the foal.

The breeder stated that she had not realized in time that the embryo was successful and once it was discovered, it was too late to take out the embryo and transfer it to a surrogate mare. The foal was therefore carried by and born from the breeder’s mare. The breeder argued that foal was not the client´s because the embryo was not transferred but was carried by her mare and therefore this would not fall under the contract.

In light of reasonableness and fairness

The court stated that the agreement did not cover situations as this one. The court ultimately followed Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’ (SEL) argumentation and ruled that in the light of the agreement and completed by the rules on reasonableness and fairness (Art. 6:248 lid 1 BW), the foal has to be handed over to SEL´s clients. The failure of following the courts decision could be fined by penalty sums of €5.000 per day with a maximum amount of €100.000.

Prohibition

With regards to other remaining embryos which were contracted for, the court ruled that the breeder is forbidden to act in any way which might stand in the way of the clients acquiring their bought embryos. This includes flushing embryos and /or harvest egg cells for herself or a third party, before the clients have received their purchased embryos. In this respect the court confirmed the first instance decision. However, the court ruled that contrary to the first instance decision the prohibition will only be in effect until the clients have received their purchased embryos and not until living foals are born.

The client was represented by mr. Vincent Zitman of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers

Positive Outcome in Appeal in Case Concerning a Horse With a Chronic Tendon Problem

A four year long court case ends in success for Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’ (SEL’s) client.  Contrary to the first instance decision, the Court of Appeal awarded all the client’s claims.

SEL’s client purchased a horse form the opposing party – in this case a Dutch trading stable which sold a dressage horse to our Israeli client – and the horse was subsequently delivered. Shortly after delivery the client noticed that the horse was unsound. When the client brought the horse to the vet the vet established that the horse had a chronic tendon inflammation which caused the lameness.

As the seller is a professional trader and our client is a consumer, rules on consumer protection in consumer sales may be applicable. Article 7:18 BW allows for a legal presumption of non-conformity at time of delivery if the good turns out to be non-conform within the period of 6 months post purchase. The exception to applying this article is when the nature of the good or the nature of the lack of conformity would deem the presumption to be incompatible.

The court of first instance refused to apply the rules of consumer protection to the situation as it deemed that the nature of the good, being a horse, and the nature of the injury, a tendon injury, excluded the application of consumer protection. The court deemed that horses, being subject to sudden injury, should not fall under goods which render the protection for consumers purchasing these goods.

The Court of Appeal in The Hague overruled the first instance decision and agreed with SEL’s argumentation in that animals, including horses, should not automatically be excluded from the application of consumer protection articles. It appear from the Dutch Parliamentary Documents (Kamerstukken) that this subject was also discussed and decided when first drafting the articles on consumer protection in consumer sales and it was made clear that the articles also apply in cases where the good sold is an animal. The nature of the deviation has been discussed as the situation in which it is clear that the non-conformity arose from the conduct of the consumer, for example, a damaged video camera undoubtedly caused by a fall of the camera.

The Court of Appeal ruled that the consumer protection articles are applicable to the case at hand and that subsequently, since the horse proved to be lame due to a tendon injury within the 6 months time frame, the presumption of non-conformity at time of delivery applies. It followed that in this case it was up to the seller to prove that the horse was healthy and sound at time of purchase and was not suffering from a chronic tendon injury.

The opposing party failed to deliver such proof and the claims of our client were awarded. The court affirmed that SEL had rightfully dissolved the clients contract with the opposing party and as consequence ordered the seller to transfer back the purchase price to the buyer and to pick up the horse.  The court also awarded the claimed damages which included vet check costs, veterinary expenses, stabling and care costs, insurance, quarantine, transportation-, court expert-, translation- and interpreter costs. – Due to the extensive time that the litigation took and the fact that the horse was in the care of our client, the damages amounted to nearly half of the horses purchase price.

The client was represented by mr. Luc Schelstraete of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers

Seizure of €25.000 by Schelstraete Equine Lawyers is Approved by Court in Summary Proceedings

Appeal Against Enforceable Penalty Sums

In the case of a claim to lift a seizure under a warrant of execution and to ban enforcing of enforceable penalty sums, the judge has a limited task. The execution court can only intervene if: (a) the debtor has shown that he has already fulfilled the ruling, or (b) if the executor is guilty of abuse of authority by the execution, for example because the sentence to be executed is clearly based on a legal or factual error or because execution, on the basis of facts revealed after the judgment, will clearly lead to a state of despair for the debtor where immediate execution could not be accepted. (Hoge Raad 22 april 1983, LJN AF4575, 1984, 145)

Successful Argumentation by Schelstraete Equine Lawyers Leaves a Seizure in Place

In the case at hand, the Court ruled in July 2016 that the opposing party to Schelstraete Equine Lawyers´ (SEL) client, was to withhold from acting in a way contrary to fulfilling their obligation towards SEL´s client and that any such act would be penalized with an enforceable sum of €25.000. SEL argued that the opposing party failed to follow the courts order when acting contrary to the contract and delaying the obligation they had under this contract. SEL and its client then moved to enforce the penalty sum by putting a seizure under a warrant of execution. The opposing party appealed this seizure in summary proceedings by claiming a lift of the seizure and a ban on enforcing the earlier established enforceable sums.

SEL successfully argued and proved that there indeed was a breach allowing such seizure. The Court followed SEL´s line of argumentation and approved the asset seizure for the amount of €25.000.

Two other penalty sums were not awarded and will be further discussed in appeal”.

The client was represented by mr. Vincent Zitman of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers

FEI five-star judge, Leif Törnblad, temporarily suspended

Messrs. Schelstraete and Wawrzyniak of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers, the member of the Alliance of European US Asian Equine Lawyers, successfully filed on behalf Mr Sjef Janssen a complaint before the Fédération Équestre Internationale (the FEI) against Mr Leif Törnblad, a five-star FEI judge, following his interview in the Horse Magazine published in September 2017. In this interview Mr  Törnblad adopted negative statement about Mr Sjef Janssen and the Dutch equestrian sport.

Following the argumentation of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers the FEI found Mr Törnblad guilty of a breach of Article 2 of the Codex for FEI Dressage Judges that states:

“A Judge must avoid any actual or perceived conflict of interest. A judge must have a neutral, independent and fair position towards riders, owners, trainers, organizers and other officials and integrate well into a team”.

Leif Törnblad. Foto: Arnd Bronkhorst / www.arnd.nl

Schelstraete Advocaten wins summary proceedings with regards to lifting a seizure; The depositary is allowed to train and to compete with the horse in competitions

Schelstraete’s client – owner of a show jumping stable – was training and taking care of a horse on behalf of its owner for 1,5 years. The owner never paid a single penny for this. On request of the client Schelstraete seized and deposited the horse at a renowned stable. The owner now claims in the summary proceedings that the seizure should be lifted and furthermore claims that the horse is his and therefore – if seized – he should decide what happens to the horse during this seizure.

All claims by the owner were rejected. According to the provisional judge the seizure and deposit remain in force and the depositary decides which training and competitions are suitable for the horse.

The client was represented by mr. Amanda Brouwers and mr. Luc Schelstraete

The judgment was published at Rechtspraak.nl

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers won in Court of Appeal: No consumer purchase

In a court ruling from the Court of Appeal in Arnhem-Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, last week, Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (SEL) successfully argued the position of it´s client, not allowing the opposing party to get away with ungrounded accusations and statements.

The European consumer protection laws

In the case at hand the opposing party sought to be covered by the very extensive European consumer protection laws. In order to fall under these protection laws one must prove they acted as a consumer, outside their own profession or business, and that they traded with a professional. The opposing party attempted to trigger these laws in order to return a horse, which got lame after a period of time post purchase.

Court rules: Consumer or professional

Although the opposing party could prove that they had a full time job outside their riding career (not related to horses), the SEL argued, and the court agreed, that this does not exclude the possibility of also being a professional in the equestrian business. The court also agreed that stating that the horse activities are private and not providing any documentation as to expenses and profit in this regard, does not get you off the hook. In this case SEL successfully argued that the opposing party did indeed act in the scope of their profession as a professional equestrian.

Conformity or Non-conformity

This resulted in that the opposing party had to prove that the horse was not conforming with the agreement, already at the time of purchase.

SEL provided substantial proof to support that the horse was indeed conform at time of transfer. To this extent SEL argued amongst others that the horse had been showing prior to sale, it went through a pre-purchase examination and was further showing after being purchased by the opposing party.

The seller was represented by Mr. Luc Schelstraete and Mr. Vincent Zitman of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers.

Need legal advice?

European consumer protection often boils down to the details – details SEL is more than familiar with. Please do not hesitate to contact us, would you have any inquiries in this field.

For more information regarding the case, please make use of the following details: Gerechtshof Arnhem-Leeuwarden, 19-09-2017, 200.172.588. Or click the following link: Rechtspraak.nl

Another win for Schelstraete Equine Lawyer’s client: Co-owner got sued for diminishing the value of the horse

It is common in the horse business that equine enthusiasts co-own horses. This can be co-ownership to split expenses, to sponsor or to divide risk. It is further also common that only one party trains and develops the horse and when the horse is sold, costs are deducted and the money is divided. Things did definitely not run as smoothly for one of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers´ (SEL) clients, which resulted in a legal dispute before the court of Arnhem.

Sued for damages

In the case at hand the two parties co-owned a horse where the respondent was the one in charge of training and showing the horse with the ultimate goal of selling the horse. The owners jointly agreed on selling the horse for the price offered by the buyer.  Months later the respondent found himself being sued for damages due to an injury which the horse had suffered more than a year prior which, according to the plaintiffs, had decreased the value of the horse.

Court favors SEL

The court followed the argumentation of SEL and ruled that firstly; there was no proof that the respondent was responsible for the injury, secondly; this fully recovered injury did not influence the pricing of the horse and lastly; the court stated that if the owners were not happy with the price offered for the horse, they should not have agreed on the sale.

Need legal advice?

Co-ownership may lead to several legal complications. Schelstraete Equine Lawyers have years of experience in the field of equine law and our team of experienced equine attorneys can assist you in all equine law matters. Please feel free to contact us here.

For more information regarding the case, please make use of the following details: Rechtbank Gelderland, 09-08-2017, C/05/310439 / HA ZA 16-548 / 167

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers wins short law suit regarding seized horses

Could you imagine having your horses seized due to financial issues of your trainer!?…

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’ client, Mr. van der Endt, returned home from his holiday, only to find out that his two horses had been seized by a bailiff. This seizure was made on the basis of a court order, which had nothing to do with Mr. van der Endt. The court order allowed the bailiff to seize property of a third party, in whose stable the horses of Mr. van der Endt were stabled for training.

When Mr. van der Endt contacted the bailiff, explaining that he was the owner and asking for the whereabouts of the horses and the lifting of the seizure, the bailiff refused to release the seized horses, stating that Mr. van der Endt had failed to prove that he was the actual owner of these horses.

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers filed summary proceedings at the court of Zeeland-West-Brabant to fight this inaccurate seizure. The court followed the argumentation of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers and declared the bailiff’s seizure ungrounded. Having stated this, the court ordered the immediate release of the horses, back to Mr. van der Endt.

“You can learn something from this, as an owner, and definitely as a bailiff,” Mr. van der Endt stated. “As owner you apparently run such risks. I think that´s grave. If we wouldn’t have intervened, the horses could’ve been auctioned out. People who do not have the courage or the money to object in these situations can lose their horse this way. But fortunately, the law prevailed this time. ”

Under Dutch law, as well as under several other jurisdictions, animals fall under the application of property law. However, the seizure of horses, and especially sport horses, is not – and should not be treated like – any other seizure of property. Horses are not only sensitive to the environment they are in but also the type of food and training they get. These factors may influence their wellbeing and performance for a long time after exposed to changes. Therefore, seizing a horse may have damaging effects on its welfare, safety, ability to perform and consequently also its value. Fortunately, the case of Mr. van der Endt and his horses was solved in rapid summary proceedings however, this is unfortunately not always the case in horse seizures.

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers have successfully dealt with several seizure and retention cases and welcomes anyone who is willing to fight to get their beloved horse back.

The horse I’ve purchased turns out to be a cribber, what to do now?

Stable vices such as cribbing (and also air sucking) appear quite often with horses. This even appears with horses which are further healthy.

It is a nasty habbit which you, being the owner of the horse, most definitely would not accept. Whenever cribbing is mentioned in this article this should be understood as being air sucking as well.

Is cribbing a ground on which you may annul the purchase agreement?

Should cribbing be considered a defect on which you may annul the purchase agreement? Or should be stated that as a consequence of the cribbing the horse is no longer suitable for the purpose which it was purchased for, for instance as a sports horse.

Several times in the past the Court of Arnhem, the Netherlands, (better known as the district Gelderland) has ruled that it is not entirely necessary to state that the horse is not suitable for the purpose. Stating that the horse is unsuitable is a difficulty when it comes to cribbing now that this does not mean that the horse is unsuitable for participating in competitions.

In the event that, according to the Court, it is clear for the seller that the buyer does not wish to buy a cribber and the horse does appear to be a cribber after the sale and purchase, this leads to a defect / non-conformity and therefore a basis on which the agreement may be annulled. In short, if you have explicitly asked the seller if the horse does not have any stable vices, or more specifically, whether the horse is a cribber and these questions have been answered with a negative response, you are in a favourable position when it comes to annulling the agreement if the horse does show these stable vices shortly after delivery.

Even in the event that the horse still participates in competitions at a high level and performs well this does not form an obstruction to be able to annul the agreement.

Question is whether the Court will stay in line with the case law. Currently a case is being handled at Schelstraete Equine Lawyers in which the purchase agreement has been annulled by the buyer due to cribbing. We expect that the judge will rule in line with the case law. When the outcome of this matter becomes known, Schelstraete Equine Lawyers will inform you accordingly through her newsletter.

Term for antedating 

Do note that cribbing comes with a short term for antedating now that this stable vice can be developed quickly. The defect can already be detected within several days after delivery of the horse. If the stable vice is detected sometime after the delivery took place, there is a risk that you will be unable to prove that the horse already was a cribber at the moment of delivery.

So if you discover within a short timeframe that your horse is a cribber, it is advisable to document this with for instance a video in order to secure your rights.

Do you have any further questions on this subject or other legal questions and/or issues you may then contact the writer of this article mr. Amanda Brouwers – Schelstraete Equine Lawyers.

The complete decision and in particular the interesting reasoning of the Court can be found on rechtspraak.nl (only available in Dutch).

Recent FEI doping case of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers

The defence team consisting of Mr Piotr Wawrzyniak of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers and the co-counsel Ms Lisa Lazarus, Esq. successfully represented a Saudi Olympic Equestrian in controlled medication proceedings before the FEI Tribunal.

The cases involved triamcinolon acetonide usage. Despite the fact that the athlete observed the withdrawal / detection period of the medication as prescribed by the FEI (Click to view document) before re-entering into the competition again, the horse tested positive on triamcinolone acetonide. The case was not the first violation of the athlete.

Thanks to the successful legal argumentation based on the doping case law, the FEI Tribunal found that the degree of fault of the PR is to be considered as small, when viewed in the totality of the circumstances in the case at hand. The Tribunal agreed with the defence team, that the athlete did everything he could have possibly done when selecting the veterinarian treating the horse. In the view of the FEI Tribunal the defence team proved that the athlete was careful when selecting his veterinarian, and he made sure to find someone with expertise and who was recommended also by his usual veterinarian, who was not available to treat the horse at the time.

Like in any doping case, the circumstances are decisive. Good argumentation and a well-thought strategy are decisive. So, if you are confronted with a sanction coming from the FEI or another doping authority and you have doubts about your legal position. Then please contact us. Before doing anything, obtain legal advice and remember: you can’t unscramble scrambled eggs.

Dutch judge declares to be competent in an International Equine dispute between Dutch principal and an Italian Architect and Italian Interior decorator

The Court of Oost-Brabant has made a decision in an interim judgement during a court procedure between a Dutch equine business owner and her Italian counter parties with regards to her competence in this matter.

The case concerns the performance of an agreement with regards to contracting of work in the Netherlands. The equine business owner contracted an Italian architect and an Italian interior decorator, which according to the business owner failed to fulfil their obligations set out in the agreements they made. This resulted in substantial damages.

Apart from claiming damages from the contracted parties the business owner also decided to claim damages from the (former) directors of the interior decorator and a subcontracted Italian interior decorator.

The architect, one of the directors of the interior decorator and the subcontracted interior decorator all were of the opinion that the Dutch judge wasn’t competent and that the case should be decided by the Italian judge. The business owner disputed these statements.

The Court decided, in line with the statement of the business owner, that based on the in the EU applicable EEX-regulation she is competent to rule on the dispute when it comes to the director of the interior decorator and subcontracted interior decorator. Therefore the litigation against these parties may be continued in the Netherlands.

The Court did declare that she was not competent where it concerns the dispute against the architecture agency. Reason for this was that in the opinion of the Court the business owner and the architect did agree on an applicable Court in Italy and this agreement was considered legally valid. As a consequence of this the Italian judge is the competent judge in this matter. The litigation against this party was therefore continued in Italy.

The complete decision and in particular the interesting reasoning of the Court can be found on rechtspraak.nl.

The equine business owner was represented by Mr. L.M. Schelstraete en Mr. P.M. Wawrzyniak and Mr. V. Zitman.

For more information (dutch only), go to rechtspraak.nl. Use NL:RBOBR:2017:1784 to view the article.

Court rules in favour of client Schelstraete Equine Lawyers in case of sold horse with fleeing behavior

On the 17th of May 2017 the Court of Midden-Nederland came to a final decision in a litigation procedure which was started by the buyer of an Icelandic mare. Schelstraete represented the seller in this case.

The buyer stated that the horse is showing fleeing behaviour, is suffering from a defect on the eye as well as that the horse was afflicted by a gastric ulcer, defects which were not mentioned prior to the purchase. Therefore the buyer requested the client to take back the horse and to refund the purchase price. Since the client was unfamiliar with the conditions of the mare, the client did not answer to the request from the buyer. Subsequently, the buyer commenced litigation against the client.

On the 17th of May 2017 the Court of Midden-Nederland ruled in favour of Schelstraete’s client. According to the Court the fleeing behaviour was neither substantiated nor proven as the buyer only substantiated the behaviour with one event, directly after the purchase. Subsequently she sent messages that her daughter was very happy with the mare and her daughter was training with the mare.

The other alleged claims regarding the eye and the gastric ulcer were rejected on formal grounds before the Court was able to assess the alleged defect. The lawyer of the buyer nor the buyer herself sent a message to the seller in which the purchase agreement was set aside or nullified regarding these alleged defects and after the daughter of the buyer kept training with the horse. Under Dutch law sending such a message or claiming the dissolution or nullification of the purchase agreement is essential. Failing to do so will result in the rejection of all your claims as a buyer and the obligation to pay the Court expenses of the seller. This decision of the Court of Midden-Nederland again underlines the importance of expert legal advice and representation in equine matters.  Matters in which we are happy to assist you.

The client was represented in this matter by mr. Schelstraete and mr. Brouwers of Schelstraete Advocaten.

 

Schelstraete Equine Lawyer’s client wins case about sold horse with back problems

The case revolves around the purchase of a horse by Schelstraete’s client which took place about the 28th of August 2013. After several months the buyer contacted the client stating that the horse has back problems and that the horse was no longer suitable for the dressage sport. The buyer demanded that the client would take back the horse and that the client would refund the purchase amount.

Since the client never experienced any back issues back in the day she possessed the horse and the horse didn’t show any other defects the client was not prepared to just take back the horse. The buyer then decided to go to Court.

To clarify the veterinary issues of the horse the Court decided that an expert opinion was needed. Three professors of the Clinic of the University of Utrecht studied the file and made a report. None of these professors were able to determine that the horse was already suffering from back issues during the sale and purchase so that they concluded that the client did sell a horse which was suitable for the dressage sport.

The Court of Rotterdam ruled on the 18th of May 2017 in favour of the client and rejected the claims of the buyer. The client is entitled to a compensation of the litigation costs.

The client was represented by mr. Schelstraete and mr. Loeffen of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers.

A Swiss buyer of a show jumper in Belgium triumphs in litigation procedure against a Belgian veterinarian

The in Switzerland located client of Beelen Advocaten in Leuven and Schelstraete Advocaten in the Netherlands had a pre-purchase vet check performed by a veterinarian located in Belgium. The horse in question was an expensive show jumper which was clinically and radiographically examined by the veterinarian. The vet check took place on June the 4th 2010 after which the veterinarian concluded: “Ok clinical and radio graphical examination. The horse is sound and there is a positive advice with regards to the horse performing as a sportshorse”.

Shortly after the delivery took place things went wrong. The buyer stated that the horse was suffering from podotrochleosis on the left front leg.

According to the buyer the vet should have discovered this during the pre-purchase vet check now that the radiographs which were made showed significant changes such as abnormalities around the navicular bone. The veterinarian wasn’t supposed to have classified the navicular bone as a normal class 2 risk but he should have classified it as a class 3 risk which signifies an increased risk.

The veterinarian was summoned to Court in Antwerp which rejected the claim of the buyer in 2014.

The buyer did not give up and turned to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal came to a judgement on March the 20th 2017. In this Court ruling the claims of the buyer were awarded such as the purchase price, pre-purchase vet check expenses, transport costs, treatment costs and a large amount of the stabling and litigation expenses. With regards to the purchase price the veterinarian had to compensate this minus 5% as this 5% represented the remaining value of the horse.

Conclusion: This outcome shows that it pays off to start a litigation procedure against veterinarians who did not perform the essential elements of a pre-purchase vet examination properly resulting in a wrong image for the buyer with regards to the risks. The veterinarian in question only received a compensation of 300,- euro for his work whilst the claimed damages all together were set at nearly 100.000,- euro.

Beelen Advocaten is located in Leuven and is the Belgian Alliance Partner of the European US Asian Equine Lawyers: “a new Alliance of the world’s leading Equine law firms.”

Seizure of a horse on Criminal Law grounds remains in effect

In the Netherlands there is a possibility for the public prosecutor to seize goods which are related to criminal offences. Recently the public prosecutor has made use of this possibility and seized a horse. Three other parties complained against the seizure now that they claimed that they were the owner of that particular horse. The three complainants substantiated their claim of ownership by referring to the studbook registration papers of the horse, several statements of people involved and the limited evidential value of mentioning the ownership in the FEI passport.

The public prosecutor contradicted the statements of the complainants.

According to him there was no impartial evidence which proofs that the complainants are the owner of the horse. Apart from this the public prosecutor also believes that the fact that the horse was not stabled at the complainants premises was also of importance.

The Court of Oost-Brabant has looked into the complaint. According to the Court the complaint could be declared valid if it becomes clear that the complainants are the owner of the horse. However the Court believed that this was not the case. For the Court it was relevant that the horse was found at the premises of the persecuted and that the persecuted was mentioned as the owner on the FEI passport. The explanation which the complainants gave to why the persecuted was mentioned in the FEI passport was not enough for the Court to clear out any reasonable doubt that the complainants were the owner of the horse. The Court of Oost-Brabant therefore ruled that the complaint was unjustified and that the seizure of the horse remains unaffected.

In most cases the ownership of a horse does not result in any topic for discussion.

However, with the ruling from the Court of Oost-Brabant in the aforementioned case it once again becomes clear that in cases in which the ownership of a horse does leave a topic for discussion it isn’t that easy to make clear who the owner of the horse is. Unlike the register we have for real estate there is no register in the Netherlands in which the ownership of a horse has been determined. This means that the circumstances and the facts should lead to the answer to who the owner of the horse is. Examples of these circumstances could be a written purchase agreement which mentions who the buying party is, who pays the purchase price, who pays for the expenses of the horse,  the registered name in the passport and/or studbook registration papers and witnesses who can state by whom the horse has been purchased. The outcome all depends on a combination of the available evidence now that none of the aforementioned circumstances by itself forms a basis to proof that someone is the owner.

If you have any further questions with regards to this article or are you experiencing the same issues then please contact us through the following phonenumber: +31 (0) 13 511 44 20 or info@schelstraete.nl

This article has been written by Mr. B.E.J. Loeffen of Schelstraete Advocaten.

Pony with permanent tendon issues sold as a top class sport pony, Schelstraete (EUAEL Alliance Partner) reaches a very advantageous settlement

Schelstraete Advocaten (EUAEL Alliance Partner) has reached a very advantageous settlement in a case regarding a pony which due to frequent tendon issues is no longer suitable to serve as a sport pony. By reaching the settlement the client not only receives a refund of the purchase price but also compensation for nearly all the expenses which were made for the pony.

The case is as follows. The seller made an offer to the client for a Z-class sport pony. Prior to the purchase a vet concluded that the pony was suffering from a tendon issue. However, now that the seller convinced our client that the pony didn’t have any tendon issues in the past, and the pony must have stumbled when running around in the paddock, the client did purchase the pony in the end.

After the sale and purchase, the client discovered that the pony did suffer from tendon issues in the past.

Despite the fact that the seller stated that it was the clients own choice to purchase a pony with tendon issues and that such a pony comes with risks they did not dare to await the judgement from the Court. The defendant eventually offered to settle for an amount which was 3.000,- euro higher than the purchase price and they would then also take the pony back.

When the counter party showed that they were willing to settle Schelstraete Advocaten, after consulting her client, started the negotiations. This was a tough choice for the daughter of the client now that she became very attached to the pony but still wanted a pony which made it possible for her to compete at a higher level as well. Due to the favourable settlement the latter finally became possible for her.

 

Court of Leuven has ruled in favour of client Beelen Advocaten (EUAEL Alliance Partner) in case of horse with behavioral issues

Recently the Court judged that the claim of a client of Beelen Advocaten (EUAEL Alliance Partner) is to be awarded since the horse in question was showing behavioural issues.

An amateur buyer purchased a show jumper from a professional dealer. After delivery the horse showed resistant behaviour during the jumps. The Court ruled that the professional dealer should have taken into account that the horse was bought by an amateur and that it was the duty of the dealer to deliver a horse with a certain character suitable for an amateur. Also the attitude which the dealer had shown after the sale, being that the dealer was unwilling to cooperate to find a solution despite the buyer’s several requests, were decisive when it came to determining that the claim to annul the agreement due to the horse’s behavioural issue should be awarded based on Consumer Protection Law. Such a ruling is unique now that the behavioural issues of horses is often categorized as a result of how the horse was handled after the purchase. The character of the horse is one of the essential elements which make a horse either suitable or unsuitable for the purpose for which it was purchased.

Essential was that the consumer informed the dealer of the defects shortly after the purchase so that it is evident that the behavioural defects must have been present prior to the delivery of the horse.

Mr. Van der Vaart and Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) client: Mr. Hervas Ascencio ended their dispute with regards to the horses Let it be VDV and Cyrano VDV.

In August 2015 a dispute arose between Mr. Van der Vaart, the owner of the largest share in the horse Let it Be VDV and Cyrano VDV Z, and Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) client: Mr. Hervas Ascencio, the trainer and co-owner of the horses with regards to – among others – the training and stabling of the horses. Several articles with regards to the dispute were published in the media. Mr. Van der Vaart and Mr. Hervas Ascencio hereby announce that they have settled their differences and ended all legal procedures.

The Court of Gelderland judged in favour of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) client on the 11th of January 2017

In 2013 a client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner)  sold a horse to a buyer based in the U.S.. After delivery to the buyer the horse showed resistant behaviour. The buyer therefore stated that the horse did not comply to the agreement.  Our client contested this after which the buyer summoned the seller to court. In Court the buyer claimed a refund of the purchase price and compensation for the damages she suffered.

After assessing the evidence the Court decided that the horse did comply to the agreement at the moment of purchase and that the horse did possess the qualities which the buyer may have expected based on the agreement and therefore Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s client had fulfilled her obligations of the agreement.

The Court has dismissed the claims from the buyer and ruled that she was to compensate the costs of the procedure.

The Client was represented by Mr. L.M. Schelstraete and Mr. V. Zitman.

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) achieved settlement in a case regarding a non-conforming pony

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) has achieved a favourable settlement on behalf of her client in a case regarding a non-conforming pony. By reaching this settlement she did not only receive a refund of the purchase price, but they also received compensation for a part of the expenses which were made for the pony.

The case was as follows. The client purchased a pony which was presented as a pony suitable for the use in sports. However during the sale and purchase the veterinarian and the seller both concealed the fact that the pony received surgery on a club hoof (Bokhoef). The client consulted their veterinarian which came to the conclusion that the surgery performed was the cause of the ongoing tendon problems. Despite the defence of seller that the club hoof surgery was performed in the past and that it was unnecessary to notify the buyer now that the surgery was supposedly not the cause of the tendon problems, the seller did not seem too keen on starting litigation. Eventually the seller made an offer to collect the pony and to refund the purchase price and an additional €2.500,- for the pony’s expenses.

 

Court in The Hague has ruled in favour of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) client with regards to arguments on the ownership of several horses

On October the 18th 2016 the Court of The Hague came to a judgement with regards to an argument between the client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) and his ex-partner on the ownership of several horses. The client entered a divorce procedure. One of the subjects in this procedure was the ownership of the horses. Both Schelstraete’s client as well as his ex-partner claimed that they were the owner of the horses. It was up to the Court of The Hague to make a decision in this matter.

By providing evidence as well as a detailed storyline on when, where and how he obtained the ownership of the horses, the Court decided that the client is the owner of the horses and ordered that the horses are to be released to the client. To read more about the judgement of the Court of The Hague click here.

Client was represented in this legal procedure by Mr. B.E.J. Loeffen

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) succesfully claims compensation in an indemnification procedure.

A client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) bought a trailer back in 2013 from a North Irish corporation and resold it to a Macedonian corporation. When the Macedonian buyer wanted to cross the Hungarian-Romanian border the trailer was confiscated now that it was reported stolen at Interpol. The Macedonian buyer held the client liable, which in turn held the North Irish corporation liable from whom the client had bought the trailer from initially.

The Court decided now that the Macedonian buyer did not obtain ownership of the trailer, she may claim a refund from the client of the paid purchase price. Schelstraete’s client has successfully passed this claim onto the North Irish corporation which now has been obligated to refund the purchase price, compensation of the damages and compensation of the court costs.

The client has been represented by Mr. L.M. Schelstraete and Mr. B.E.J. Loeffen of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner)

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) client triumphs at the Court of Zeeland-West-Brabant

On September the 21st the Court of Zeeland-West-Brabant decided that the plaintiff has been declared inadmissible with regards to the claims against Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) clients.

After the client has been summoned to Court, they submitted a written defence against the claim. One of the crucial statements was that there was no contractual relation between the plaintiff and the client. Therefore the plaintiff, which claimed that there was a Purchase Agreement, had no grounds to support its claim. The plaintiff did not submit a defence against this statement and has withdrawn its claim shortly before the day that the parties needed to appear at Court. The Court judge decided in favour of Schelstraete Lawyers clients and decided that the plaintiff is to compensate the court costs.

With the help of Mr. L.M. Schelstraete and Mr. B.E.J. Loeffen of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) the clients managed to submit a successful defense

Court of Middelburg rejects the claim of counter party of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) client regarding the stabling and training of the horse

A German client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) faced litigation initiated by a Dutch dressage stable that claimed payments regarding the stabling and training of a horse that the German client bought from the Dutch dressage stable. Shortly after the delivery the German client brought the horse back to the stable because the horse was not in conformity with the agreement. The Court of Middelburg rejected the claim of the Dutch dressage stable. According to the judge the Dutch dressage stable did not prove that there was an agreement between the parties regarding the stabling and training of the horse.

Court of Limburg rules in favour of client Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner)

On the 17th of August 2016 the Court of Limburg has made a decision in a case which was brought before Court by a client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner). In this case the client purchased a horse, which shortly after the purchase showed dangerous behaviour when the horse was ridden. At a veterinarian examination it appeared that there were arthritic changes in the neck.

Now that the seller was unwilling to take back the horse, the client has brought the seller before the Court of Limburg.

The judge decided in an interlocutory judgment that, taking into account the veterinary complications of the horse, there is a presumption that the horse was already non-conform at the moment of delivery. After the hearing of several witnesses it became clear that the horse was known for arching its back when mounted and would move a few passes forward. The client explicitly mentioned that due to her physical limitations she was interested in finding a horse which would be easy to ride and calm.

The seller has been obligated to refund the purchase price and to compensate the client for the damages suffered.

The client was represented by Mr. B.E.J. Loeffen of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner).

Client of Schelstraete Advocaten wins its case at the KWPN Arbitration Committee

On August 1st 2016 the Arbitration Committee of the KWPN has ruled in favour of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner). In this case the client of Schelstraete sold a horse. Several months after the sale of the horse the buyer turned to the seller claiming that there was a hidden shortcoming now that the horse is lame. According to the buyer the horse is suffering from arthritis and a tendon injury.

The client has disputed the statements of the buyer since the horse always performed well. At the veterinary examination which was held at the moment of purchase the horse never showed any signs of lameness nor did it show signs of arthritis or a tendon injury. Furthermore the veterinarians never managed to antedate the arthritis and tendon injury to the moment that the buyer had purchased the horse from the client. Eventually it became evident that there was no proof that the horse was suffering from arthritis and/or a tendon injury at the moment of delivery so that the Court assumed that the horse was free from any hidden shortcomings at that time.

The Arbitration Committee ruled in favour of Schelstraete’s client and rejected the buyer’s claim. The client was represented in the procedure by Mr. B.E.J. Loeffen of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner).

Claim of counter party was rejected due to the wrong party being summoned to court

In a legal procedure at the Court of Midden-Nederland concerning the sale of a horse Schelstraete has successfully pleaded that her client was not the selling party. On August the 3th 2016 the Court decided to reject the claim of the counterparty.

Client was represented in this procedure by Mr. Schelstraete and Mr. Zitman.

Read more about this case on rechtspraak.nl (only available in Dutch)

Claim of counter party was rejected due to the wrong party- Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) client- being summoned to court

In a legal procedure at the Court of Midden-Nederland concerning the sale of a horse Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) has successfully pleaded that her client was not the selling party. On August the 3th 2016 the Court decided to reject the claim of the counterparty.

Client was represented in this procedure by Mr. Schelstraete and Mr. Zitman of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner).

Read more about this case, on rechtspraak.nl (dutch only)

Contractor violates duty to warn its customer client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner), during the construction of an equestrian surface (continuation)

On January the 29th 2016 AN ARTICLE was published on Schelstraete’s website regarding a legal procedure at the Court of Oost-Brabant on the construction of an Equestrian Surface. In this matter  the Court decided on the 13th of January 2016 in favour of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) client that the contractor violated its duty to warn its customer.

Such violation results in an imputable shortcoming and therefore the contractor is bound to compensate the customer for the damages. Parties have continued litigation on this matter.

In a court decision dating 3th of August 2016 the Court has determined the damages and the contractor has been obliged to reimburse these damages.

Client was represented in this procedure by Mr. Schelstraete and Mr. Zitman of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner).

Read more about this case on rechtspraak.nl (dutch only)

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) successfully argues dispute about consumer sale

On July 16, 2014, the Cantonal Court of Limburg ruled on an interesting case concerning a consumer sale. In this case a professional rider sued  a trading barn because they supposedly sold and delivered a horse that showed defects. In addition, the rider stated that he bought the horse as a consumer and therefore could invoke consumer protection. The consumer protection includes, that if a defect is detected within six months after delivery, the law presumes that the defect has already been there, and it is to the seller to show the contrary.

The trading barn was represented by Mr. L. M. Schelstraete and Mr. V. Zitman of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner). They claimed that insofar a purchase agreement had been established between the trading stable and the rider, the rider purchased the horse for professional purposes and therefore it could not be a consumer sale.

That the rider purchased the horse for professional purposes was fully clear according to Mr.  Schelstraete and Mr. Zitman. They came to this conclusion because of the following facts: The rider frequently participates in international competitions, and he also works for a company which is actively engaged in the equestrian sport and runs an equestrian center, and which company also sponsors the horse.

The Court followed the arguments of Mrs. Schelstraete and Zitman and ruled that the purchase agreement cannot be regarded as a consumer sale. This decision is especially interesting because professional riders have been regarded consumers  by Courts so far. Due to the fact that this was not a consumer sale, it is not only that the rider cannot invoke consumer protection, but also that the Cantonal Court is not competent to judge upon the case.The Cantonal Courts has therefore declined jurisdiction and referred the case to another Court, where litigation will continue.

Client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) triumph at the Court in Alkmaar

In September 2013 two clients of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) sold a horse. Several months after the sale the buyer notified the clients that the horse which was sold was suffering from thrombosis at the moment of delivery which would make the horse unsuitable for jumping competitions. Our cliënts disputed the aforementioned statement. Now that the purchase was done by a consumer the case was subject to Consumer Law. Due to the foregoing the clients were bearing the burden of proof that they did have delivered a healthy horse.

The Court of Alkmaar required an expert’s report to clarify the facts on the thrombosis. The expert has reviewed the veterinary file of the horse and concluded that the propability of the presence of thrombosis at the moment of delivery to the buyer was only 5%. The Court of Alkmaar considered this propability to be highly unlikely and therefor the Court assumed that the horse was healthy at the moment of delivery. The Court decided on the 13th of July 2016 that the claim of the plaintiff was rejected and that our client’s expenses for the legal procedure are to be compensated.

Clients were represented by mr. Loeffen and mr. Schelstraete of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner).

Read more about this case (dutch only)

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) cliënts triumphs in a preliminary injunction regarding embryo’s

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) has succesfully represented two buyers of embryo’s in a preliminary injunction against the seller at the Court of Zeeland-West-Brabant.

The reason behind the procedure was that the buyers already paid substantial amounts for the embryo’s without receiving all embryo’s.

According to the decision of the judge the seller is required to fulfil her obligations from the agreement. In addition to this the seller is, unless written approval is provided by the buyer, probihited to provide herself and/or third parties a transfer of an embryo from a mare and/or collecting eggs through an ICSI-procedure and/or perform other activities which will prevent that the buyers will receive the embryo’s. This restriction remains until the buyers have been provided with embryo’s which will produce live foals. A breach of this restriction results in payment of a penalty.

The legal judgement can be read at Rechtspraak.nl (click HERE – dutch only) (http://deeplink.rechtspraak.nl/uitspraak?id=ECLI:NL:RBZWB:2016:4627).

The buyers were represented by Mr. V. Zitman of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner).

Client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner), a Dutch seller of three expensive dressage horses, wins again the lawsuit against a foreign buyer.

In a dispute regarding a purchase of three dressage horses (value 1,8 Million euros) the Court of Den Bosch issued on1 June 2016 its final decision dismissing the buyer’s claims. It must be noted that prior to this law suit the foreign buyer and its stakeholder, a internationally well-known dressage amazon, initiated several proceedings in the Netherlands that all were dismissed.

The Court agreed with Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) that the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (Vienna, 1980) (CISG) was applicable to the respective purchase agreements and the seller is not liable for any lack of conformity of the goods if at the time of the conclusion of the contract the buyer knew or could not have been unaware of such lack of conformity. A  later established  anomaly does not form a defect as such or a fundamental breach of the contract on the seller’s side that would justify the annulment of the purchase agreement. Such has not been established in the case. This judgment is quite interesting as the Court clearly outlined the criteria of the applicability of the CISG as well as the criteria that must be taken into account while notifying the seller with regards of the alleged non-conformity.

EUAEL advises its clients to check in the international context whether the CISG can be applicable to an agreement. Even if parties did not choose the CISG to be applicable to the agreement, the treaty can still be applicable. The applicability of the CISG can significantly influence the legal positions of the parties compared to the internal Dutch law. Client was assisted in this matter by Messrs. Schelstraete and Wawrzyniak of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner).

Counterparty pays a large sum of money to client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner)

After the purchase of a horse at a Polish auction for Arabian horses in august 2015, client has transported the horse to The Netherlands. Upon arrival the horse showed a shortcoming (navicular disease) making it useless for its initial purpose (show-horse).

Client requested legal assistance from Mrs Loeffen, attorney-at-law at Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner). Mrs Loeffen has ordered the organization of the Polish auction to collect the horse from the client and to refund the purchase price and compensate any additional costs made.

The Polish auction responded to the summons, by paying back the purchase price and the claimed damages.

Counterparty pays a large sum of money to client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner)

After the purchase of a horse at a Polish auction for Arabian horses in august 2015, client has transported the horse to The Netherlands. Upon arrival the horse showed a shortcoming (navicular disease) making it useless for its initial purpose (show-horse).

Client requested legal assistance from Mrs Loeffen, attorney-at-law at Schelstraete Advocaten. Mrs Loeffen has ordered the organization of the Polish auction to collect the horse from the client and to refund the purchase price and compensate any additional costs made.

The Polish auction responded to the summons, by paying back the purchase price and the claimed damages.

Disputes Committee Financial Services awards client Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) with compensation of its damages

On October the 9th 2012 a horsetrailer owned by Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) client was stolen. The client submitted a request at the insurance company for compensation of the damages suffered, which the insurance company rejected.

Legally supported by Mr. B.E.J. Loeffen of Schelstraete Advocaten, the client filed a complaint at the Disputes Committee Financial Services (Geschillencommissie Financiële Dienstverlening). On the 10th of March 2016, the Disputes Committee decided that it was sufficiently proven that the client did follow the requirements set by the insurance company by locking the trailer and that it should be considered that the trailer was locked when the thievery took place. Now that the insurance company also failed to provide evidence with regards to impairment of its reasonable interests, there are no reasons for the Dispute Committee to withhold the compensation of the damages suffered by the client.

The Disputes Committee decided that the insurance company is to pay an amount of €8.888,- to the client.

Client has been supported in this legal matter by Mr. B.E.J. Loeffen of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner).

Client Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) wins dispute regarding the Court’s competence for a Dutch buyer who purchased a horse from Northern Ireland

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) represents a Dutch buyer in a dispute with an Irish seller regarding the purchase of an eventing horse. In a judicial procedure before the Court of Gelderland the seller argued that the case should not be judged by a Dutch Court but by a Court in Northern Ireland. This because he has his residence in Northern Ireland. Schelstraete argued that the Dutch Court is competent to judge over the case because pursuant to the purchase agreement the horse was delivered in the Netherlands. By decision of 11 May 2016 the Court followed the argumentation of Schelstraete and declared itself competent.The procedure will be continued in the Netherlands.

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) has succesfully protested a request for a witness hearing in the U.S.

In a legal procedure at the court of Gelderland, Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) is representing a Dutch equestrian firm in a dispute concerning the sale of a horse to a buyer located in the United States. According to the buyer the horse would not live up to the expectations which the buyer may have expected based on the purchase agreement and claims that at the moment of delivery there would have been a lack of character in the horse to fulfill it’s intended purpose.

Schelstraete’s cliënt contests the foregoing and has involved several witnessess in the procedure, which were able to provide statements on the horse’s character prior to and at the time of delivery. The buyer has requested the court to provide witnessess as well. However the hearing of these witnessess, according to the buyer, would need to be executed in the U.S. and by the U.S. court.

In a succesful defense Schelstraete manages to put a halt to the request of the opposing party. A main rule in Dutch litigation is that a judge who has been assigned to the case, is required to hear the witnesses himself in order to form an independent judgement on the credibility of the statements.

According to the court of Gelderland, the buyer has not provided enough motivation on why a different approach than the main rule is required. None of the grounds provided by the buyer indicate that the witnesses are unable or unwilling to attend a hearing in The Netherlands, or that the buyer has made specific attempts to convince the witnesses to attend the hearing in The Netherlands. Not to forget that it was the buyer who started the legal procedure in The Netherlands and not the cliënt of Schelstraete.

Client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) wins case regarding a very ill horse

Client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner), a professional trading stable, purchased a jumping horse from an amateur rider. The horse became very ill within a few days after delivery and after several veterinary examinations on the clinic it appeared that the horse suffered from kidney cancer. The seller of the horse didn’t want to discuss a reasonable solution so our client started a lawsuit against the amateur seller. The judge of the Court Noord-Nederland didn’t need a lot of time to make up her mind and we received the verdict only 4 weeks (April 15th) after the court hearing. All her claims are awarded and the counterparty must refund a.o. the complete purchase price, veterinary costs and legal costs.

Contractor violates duty to warn its customer during the construction of an equestrian surface

On the 13th of January 2016 the Court of Oost-Brabant an interlocutory judgment was made on the contractor’s duty to warn when carrying out the agreement.

The case was as follows:

The client of Schelstraete (“A”), being an equestrian business, gave an assignment to a Belgian firm (“B”) for the construction of an equestrian surface, consisting of a sufficient functioning draining system and a turf that could be put back in place. “B” informed that the top layer needed to be removed in order to replace several layers with layers containing a draining function. After that the old top layer would be placed back in again.

After performing the work “A” noticed that even with an average rain shower puddles started to appear on the grass track, which resulted in not being able to use the track.

“A” therefore came to the conclusion that the surface did not comply to the requirements of the permeability, which “B” disputed.

“A” started a legal procedure against “B”. In this procedure an expert was appointed to investigate the surface. The expert came to the conclusion that the surface did not meet the standards due to maintaining the old top surface.

“A” claimed that “B”, being the contractor and a professional in the area of delivering equestrian surfaces, had a duty to warn with regards to the top layer and has violated this duty by not informing “A” of the unsuitability of the top layer and by not advising “A” to also replace the top layer.

“A” turned to article 7:754 of the Civil Code which says:

“When performing an agreement the contractor is obligated to warn the client for any inaccuracies in the assignment as far as known or reasonably could be known. The same obligation is applicable in the event of defects or unsuitability of goods originating from the client, including the surface on which client is having the work performed on as well as defects in the by client provided plans, drawings, calculations, specifications or implementation guidelines”. In an interlocutory judgment on the 13th of January 2016 the Court decided in favour of “A” and decided that “B” did not fulfil its duty to warn.

This brings that “B’s shortcoming in fulfilling the agreement is attributable and therefor is bound to compensate “A” for the damages that occurred. Parties have continued litigation on this matter.

Client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) wins case in front of the Hague Court

On June 17th 2015 the Court rejected the counterparties claims. Our client was summoned by her former business partner who wanted her to return to him a sum of ‘borrowed’ money. He stated that our client lent money from him to buy a horse. However, my client argued in front of the Court that she never borrowed any money from him and she bought the horse on his behalf.

The Court agreed with our client’s point of view. The counterparties’ claims were rejected and he was ordered to pay to our client all unpaid stabling costs etc. since our client was taking care of HIS horse.

In this procedure our client was represented by Mr. Schelstraete and Ms. Loeffen of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner)

Client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) wins case in front of the Dutch Court on May 21st

Recently the Dutch Court delivered its final judgement in a case concerning  the sale of a horse. In 2009 our client bought a horse. In 2013 (!) the former owner of this horse stated that she did not sell the horse to our client but only leased the horse to her and she claimed the horse back together with several foals! On behalf of our client we successfully argued to the Court that there was no such thing as a ‘loan-agreement’ in this case. The counterparty had to proof that there was a loan-agreement but failed to do so for which reason the Court rejected her claims towards our client.

In this case the client was represented by Ms. Loeffen and Mr. Schelstraete of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner).

London Client of Beelen Advocaten (EUAEL Alliance Partner) wins short law suit in Belgium in front of the Court of Charleroi

Together with Mr Katrien Beelen of Beelen Advocaten (EUAEL Alliance Partner), EUAEL was successful in representing a London buyer in order to defend the arrest on horses and bank assets that belong to a horse dealer in Belgium.

The buyer annulled the purchase agreement of the show jumper as the horse showed many defects. The buyer also arrested horses and bank assets that belonged to this dealer. The dealers lawyer pleaded before the Court of Charleroi to have all these arrests lifted but the Court rejected this request.

To be continued.

German client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) wins short law suit from Ukrainian plaintiff in front of the District Court of Limburg, the Netherlands dated 1 April 2015.

The judge of the District Court of Limburg ruled that as Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) client (the defendant) had already lifted the arrest on a horse and its passport the plaintiff had no further interest in the judge its interference. For this reason plaintiff’s claim was denied.

The complete decision (Dutch available only) can be read here.

Claims towards Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) client rejected by the Court of Den Bosch

After a long legal procedure, the Court recently put an end to the dispute between two private horse owners. The seller, represented by mr. Loeffen and mr. Schelstraete of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner), sold a horse to an amateur rider. The buyer argued that after the purchase the horse suffered from a defect (a tumour in the head which caused the horse to tilt his head) as a result of which the horse could not be used as a sport horse. The Court ruled that the buyer didn’t have enough evidence that the alleged defect was present at the time of delivery and, therefore, rejected the claims of the buyer.

The seller in this procedure was assisted by Ms. mr. Loeffen and Mr. Schelstraete of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner)

Positive turn in Appeal for Israeli client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner)

On 31 March the Court of Appeal in the Hague decided that it is up to the seller– in this case a Dutch trading stable which sold a dressage horse to our Israeli client – to prove that the horse was healthy at time of purchase and was not yet suffering from a chronic tendon injury.

The Court of Appeal decided that – contrary to the Court of first instance in Dordrecht – the fact that there is an animal involved which suffers from a tendon injury cannot oppose the application of Article 7:18 of the Dutch civil code. Now this tendon injury revealed itself within 6 months after purchase (in a professional seller vs. consumer buyer relationship) Dutch law presumes that the tendon injury was already present at the time of sale and it is up to the seller to prove otherwise.

If the other party fails to do so, the claims of our client will be awarded. This means the horse has to go back to the seller and our client receives full restitution of the purchase price and other costs like veterinary and stabling costs.

 

In this procedure our client was represented by mr. Vincent Zitman of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner)

To be continued.

Click here to read the verdict of the Court (Dutch available only)

KWPN Arbitration Committee grant’s counterclaim of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) client on April 20th 2015

An alternative procedure of litigation in front of a district Court is possible for KWPN-members.

According to the KWPN Procedural rules its members can bring their claims to the KWPN Arbitration Committee.

Part of the debate: Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) client, a former co-owner together with a breeding station of a KWPN approved stallion, was asked to deliver the KWPN studbook paper he still had in his possession. Schelstraete Equine Lawyers answered to this claim that his client still had a right of retention on this document f.i. because of the fact that the breeding station, after several years, still hasn’t paid the client’s claim on stud fees.

After several hearings Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s client’s claim to settle the outstanding amount is granted.

The Court of Appeal confirms earlier positive judgement for Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) foreign client

On January 13th 2015, the Court of Appeal Arnhem-Leeuwarden confirmed an earlier positive judgment in a short law suit.

The issue involved five horses from our client ‘A’ residing in Saudi Arabia which were trained  by B in England. At some point B moved the horses without permission from England to the Netherlands, where B kept the horses hidden for A.

In the earlier judgement B was ordered to stable the horses at a third party’s barn. B appealed to this decision and requested the Court of Appeal to determine that the horses need to be stabled at another barn and to allow B to train and compete with the horses.

The Court of Appeal rejected B’s claims and ruled in favour of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) client!

In the Appeal proceedings A was represented by Mr. L. M. Schelstraete and Mr. V. Zitman of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner).

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers’s (EUAEL Alliance Partner) clients claim granted in short law suit

On October 2, 2014, the  Provisional Judge of the District Court of Overijssel (location Almelo) issued a positive judgment in a short law suit. The issue involved five horses from our client ‘A’ residing in Saudi Arabia which were trained  by B in England. At some point B has moved the horses without permission from England to the Netherlands, where B kept the horses hidden for A.

The provisional judge ruled in favour of A. B is ordered to stable the horses at the barn of a third party. Thanks to this judgement A knows about the whereabouts of his horses stay and he can monitor their health.

In the short law suit A was represented by Mr. L. M. Schelstraete and Mr. V. Zitman of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner).

The entire judgment can be read here (Dutch available only).

Client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) wins again in Appeal!

A client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner), (hereafter referred to as ‘A’) was again vindicated by the Court of Appeal on August 5th 2014.

The case concerned a swap of two horses between ‘A’ and the counterparty (hereafter referred to as ‘B’ ). In October 2008  ‘B’ offered his horse for sale. ‘A’ was interested and they made an agreement that ‘A’ would give her horse Z and € 3.000,- in exchange for the horse of B, X. Shortly after this exchange, ‘A’ discovered that there was an injury to the right hind leg of horse X, which causes an increased risk of lameness. According to the veterinarian of ‘A’, this injury was present before A had purchased the horse from B.

In order to make the exchange undone, ‘A’ started litigation against ‘B’ early 2009. After a long process of almost two years, ‘A’ was vindicated by the District Court with the result that ‘B’ was obliged to take horse X back from ‘A’ and he had to return horse Z to ‘A’. In the meantime ‘B’ had already sold horse ‘Z, for this reason B must pay a replacement value of € 16.000.

‘B’ did not agree with the decision of the District Court and decided to Appeal against this ruling. In Appeal ‘B’ argued that the District Court wrongfully determined that horse X was unhealthy due to the injury on the right hind leg and that the replacement value of the horse of  € 16,000 was not duly motivated. Furthermore, in Appeal ‘B’ objected against the expert who was appointed by the District Court.

Nevertheless, the Court of Appeal rejects all claims of ‘B’ and confirms the decision of the previous Court. In addition to the damages which ‘B’ already was required to pay ‘A’, ‘B’ is also ordered to pay the legal costs that were made during the Appeal. Altogether a very positive outcome for the client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner).

A was assisted by Mr. L.M. Schelstraete and Ms. Mr. B.E.J. Loeffen from Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner).

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) wins short law suit concerning unlawful seizure on horses

On July 22 2014, the provisional judge of the District Court of Oost-Brabant gave a positive judgement in a short law suit that a client (hereinafter ‘A’) of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) initiated in order to lift the seizure from her horses. Schelstraete Equine Lawyers assists clients with similar problems on a regular basis. When horses, real-estate, bank accounts or horse trucks are under seizure, most clients are experiencing severe inconvenience and suffer significant financial loss.‘A’ was recently confronted with a seizure on her horses which seriously hampered the daily care and training of the horses. For this reason European Equine Lawyers decided together with ‘A’ to start a short law suit.
The provisional judge ruled in favour of ‘A’ by deciding that the seizure will be lifted if the counterparty has not provided a bank guarantee for the amount of € 10.000,- before a certain date.
This is a great outcome for A because either the seizure is removed or she has the guarantee that she will receive proper undamagement for her financial loss caused by the seizures when the judge in the procedure on the merits decides that the seizures were placed unlawful by the Counterparty.

‘A’ was assisted by Mr. L.M. Schelstraete of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner)

Judge rules in case damaged tails – Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner)

On April 24, 2014, the Amsterdam District Court ruled in a remarkable case about the damaged tails of five horses. The owner of these horses started a lawsuit against the owner of the horse who has caused this damage.  The court ruled that it was proved that the horse of the defendant, had eaten the tails of the five horses. According to Article 6:179 of Dutch BW, defendant is therefore liable for the resulting damages caused by his horse. Concerning the amount of damage, both parties are still litigating.

Click here to read the whole decision. Dutch only

Client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) wins case regarding a very ill horse

Client of Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner), a professional trading stable, purchased a jumping horse from an amateur rider. The horse became very ill within a few days after delivery and after several veterinary examinations on the clinic it appeared that the horse suffered from kidney cancer. The seller of the horse didn’t want to discuss a reasonable solution so our client started a lawsuit against the amateur seller. The judge of the Court Noord-Nederland didn’t need a lot of time to make up her mind  and we received the verdict only 4 weeks (April 15th) after the court hearing. All her claims are awarded and the counterparty must refund a.o. the complete purchase price, veterinary costs and legal costs.

Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner) wins case Matthijs Maat

The Court Central Netherlands (Utrecht) vindicated Matthijs Maat from Stud Geerestein in the lawsuit between him and his former partner Aletta Swanborn. Maat was assisted by Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (EUAEL Alliance Partner). Swanborn is forced to pay € 300.000, – in advance as indemnification after the misappropriation and sale of the dressage horses U-Caro (by Welt Hit II) and Rosentolz (by Rotspon). Swanborn must withdraw all seizures that are lying on the possessions of Maat. By default, the Court imposed a penalty payment of € 10.000, – per day.

After ending the relationship, Swanborn sold both horses to third parties. The court considers it likely that both horses together are at least worth € 400.000,– and that these horses belong to Maat. For this Swanborn is now convicted to pay an advance payment of € 300 000,–, pending the final determination.