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    Rob Meijer

    Rob Meijer


    Rob Meijer specialises in liability issues, insurance law and litigation at the Dutch Supreme Court (first tier for over 20 years). Other notable areas of expertise include state immunity, corporate law, transport law, and intellectual property law. He acts as an arbitrator for the Netherlands Arbitration Institute and other organisations. Rob is the chairman of the Advisory Committee on Civil Law and a member of the Advisory Committee of Insurance Law of the Netherlands Bar Association.

    Recent Matters

    • Jun 2015

      The Unbundling Act requires that the integrated energy companies unbundle their network companies, and forbids privatization thereof. Three large energy companies argued that the act infringes on the right to free movement of capital and therefore does not bind them. Today, after well over six years since the matter was initiated against the State by the energy companies and a preliminary ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Dutch Supreme Court found that the Unbundling Act is in line with the right to free movement of capital. The Supreme Court reasons that with the Unbundling Act, the legislature wanted to secure the supply of gas and electricity on a high level, and to make the energy market transparent. This is in the interest of the purchasers, including consumers. These objectives of the Unbundling Act are ‘important reasons in the public interest’. With the group prohibition and the prohibition of sideline activities, the Unbundling Act meets its objectives, whilst not going further than necessary for that. For that reason the Supreme Court rules that these restrictions on the free movement of capital or freedom of establishment are justified.

    • Feb 2015

      Successfully represented the Republic of Colombia and the former state-owned energy company Ecopetrol against Llanos Oil in a Supreme Court litigation. In this litigation, Llanos Oil claimed that they have been wrongly deprived of their exploration license for oil and gas and they demanded billions of Euros as a compensation. The core of the legal battle was whether a Dutch court has jurisdiction in this case that seems to be purely Colombian. Llanos Oil appealed to the Dutch nationality of its shareholders and directors in conjunction with Article 9 of the Dutch Code of Civil Procedure, the so-called forum of necessity, which offers jurisdiction to Dutch court where normally competent court is unavailable or unreliable and where there is a sufficient link with Dutch interest. The Supreme Court has decided that a Dutch court has no jurisdiction in this matter.

    • Mar 2014

      Successfully represented NLKabel, a consortium of Dutch cable companies in a landmark neighbouring rights case before the Supreme Court against Norma, a Dutch collecting society representing performing artists. The Supreme Court ruled that transmitting radio and television programmes via the cable which is not preceded by an initial communication to the public cannot be considered ‘cable retransmission’ or ‘secondary use’ for which royalties would be due.

    • Sep 2013

      Houthoff Buruma successfully represented Promneftstroy, a company held by various investment groups which purchased all shares in the Netherlands-based Yukos Finance B.V. at the Russian bankruptcy auction of Yukos Oil. The dispute was whether the Russian bankruptcy trustee of Yukos Oil had the right to transfer these shares, thus giving effect to the Russian bankruptcy on Dutch territory. The Supreme Court decided in favour of Promneftstroy: a foreign bankruptcy trustee in principle can exercise in the Netherlands all powers that his own law grants him. The only restriction is that the coming about of the bankruptcy should not violate Dutch public policy. Whether this is the case regarding Yukos Oil still needs to be decided by the Amsterdam Court of Appeals.

    • Sep 2013

      Successfully represented Ajinomoto in Supreme Court litigation against GBT on infringement of Ajinomoto’s patents. The Supreme Court upheld the Appeal Court's decision that Ajinomoto, being the owner of a patent for a genetically modified organism and a method of producing a substance with that organism, can oppose the import and sale of substances produced with an organism according to the patent.

    • Jun 2013

      Successfully represented book publisher Tirion Publishers in a landmark ‘image rights’ case before the Supreme Court against famous footballer Johan Cruijff concerning the question whether famous persons may forbid the publishing of their images. The Supreme Court ruled, in favour of Tirion Publishers, that the person portrayed does not have an "absolute right to one’s image”.

    • Feb 2012

      Houthoff Buruma is representing Philips, Fujifilm, Maxell and others in a landmark copyright case concerning the question whether downloading content from an illegal source is allowed under the private copying exemption. Copyright owners obtaines compensation for missed income as a consequence of the private copying exemption by a levy on blank carriers (cd’s, cd-roms and dvds), which is established each year. The manufacturers and importers of blank carriers have demanded a declaratory decision that the (vast amount of) downloading of illegal content is not to be taken into account when setting the amount of the levy.

    • May 2011

      Houthoff Buruma represented Lego in Supreme Court high end litigation concerning the question whether the Lego blocks are protected by law again slavish imitation, now that both patent and copyright protection have expired.

    • Apr 2011

      Houthoff Buruma represented Rabobank in a procedure against former clients of Befra. Befra, in its capacity of managing partner, acted as the representative of various limited partnerships (“c.v.’s”) in which the clients had participated as limited partners. The c.v.’s had accounts with Rabobank. On behalf of the c.v.’s Befra instructed Rabobank to execute transactions in securities. Befra went bankrupt and its clients lost part of their investments. Befra’s clients claimed that Rabobank had been negligent towards them. According to Befra’s clients, Rabobank shouldn’t have dealt with Befra because it lacked the necessary permit to perform asset management for the clients. The District Court ruled in favour of the clients, but the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court decided that Rabobank had not acted negligently towards Befra’s clients in dealing with Befra and executing transactions in securities. Both Courts held that Befra did not perform asset management for its clients, but merely acted as a representative for the c.v.’s and as such did not need a permit. The team represented Rabobank before the District Court, the Court of Appeal as well as the Supreme Court.
      (Link to Supreme Court ruling: Rabobank c.s./Befra, Apr 2011)

    • Oct 2010

      Houthoff Buruma represented Norma, the collecting society for performers, in high end Supreme Court litigation concerning the question whether non-EU performers from countries which are not a party to the Rome Convention (such as the United States) are entitled to an equitable remuneration for private copying of phonograms and videos of their performance.

    • Jun 2010

      Houthoff Buruma represented Vitesse in a procedure against the Province of Gelderland. The Supreme Court decided that the Province of Gelderland is liable for the damage that has been caused to Vitesse and its managers who were held in false conviction that the province will provide a substantial amount for the rescue of Vitesse in a way of a rent decrease for the Gelredome stadium in the 2001/2002 season.
      (Link to Supreme Court ruling)

    • Dec 2009

      Houthoff Buruma represented ABN AMRO as a plaintiff in a matter which is considered to be a highly principle case for banking and insolvency law, concerning voidance by a bankruptcy trustee - invoking the actio pauliana - of security rights for loans and credits for companies in distress. The matter has received great attention in Dutch legal media.
      (Link to Supreme Court ruling: ABN AMRO Bank/Van Dooren q.q, Dec 2009)

    • Oct 2009

      Houthoff Buruma represented ABN AMRO as a defendant before the Supreme Court in this matter. The case concerns the question whether a bank as secured creditor (stil pandhouder) has a right to receive data on the pledged debts, in order to be able to create a public pledge (openbaar pandrecht) by notifying the pledged debtors. Under a public pledge, the money may be collected from the debtors and does not have to bear insolvency costs (boedelschulden). In Dutch bankruptcy law this often makes all the difference.
      (Link to Supreme Court ruling: ABN AMRO Bank/Hamm q.q., Oct 2009)

    • Dec 2007

      Houthoff Buruma represented ABN AMRO Insurance in land mark litigation in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decided that liability insurers may invoke the bad intent-exclusion and do not have to provide coverage in the event the party causing the injury is convicted therefore in accordance with criminal law, not withstanding that the criminal court held that the insured perpetrator was to a great degree not compos mentis.
      (Link to Supreme Court ruling)

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    Chambers Europe & Global (2017 Edition)

    Sources describe him as "a very wise counsellor whose judgement we have a lot of confidence in."

    Legal 500 (2017 Edition)

    'Rob Meijer: Leading individual'

    Chambers Europe (2016 Edition)

    Rob Meijer is ranked in Tier 1. He is highly regarded in the market for his Supreme Court litigation skills.

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