Entering into a transaction inevitably involves risks, including legal risks. If there is a Dutch connection, there may well be Dutch legal risks. The purpose of a Dutch law opinion is to analyse those risks.
The opinion giver, an appropriately qualified legal expert (a lawyer (advocaat), civil-law notary (notaris) or sometimes an in-house lawyer), confirms in the opinion that certain risks do not exist and highlights risks that do. This gives the opinion recipient a basis for determining whether, after weighing up the pros and cons, it is responsible from a Dutch law perspective to enter into the particular transaction.
The expert giving an opinion must provide the care required by Dutch law. Since failure in his duty of care may render him liable for damage sustained by the opinion recipient, an opinion giver must know what level of care is required of him. Equally, an opinion recipient must know what level of care it can expect. As luck would have it, legal opinions have largely become standardised and this in turn has had the effect of standardising the opinion giver's duty of care.
That duty of care is the subject of this book, which is intended as a practical guide to Dutch law opinions and the various elements that comprise them. Based on practice and with its focus on practice, the guide describes and analyses which risks will typically be indicated in an opinion and which risks will not, clarifying the level of care an opinion giver must provide and an opinion recipient may expect.
Author Jan Marten van Dijk is a partner at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, whose background and experience in opinion practice spans many years.
The guide was translated into English by Christina Guy.