Amsterdam, November 2020
Shearwaters has secured victory for a leading global business services provider in another landmark appeal case involving managing directors as appointed by shareholders.
This appeal has set reasonable expectations across the Netherlands for court ordered ‘fair compensation’ (in Dutch: billijke vergoeding) payable to dismissed managing directors.
At the end of 2019, the company turned to Shearwaters to help them decide whether or not to appeal a delicate court ruling against them and if so: to act for the company in appeal proceedings before the Amsterdam Court of Appeal.
The lower court had ordered the company to pay a former senior executive – who had been instantly dismissed by the company – some €600k in ‘fair compensation’ plus other items, totalling some €700k.
That verdict has now been overruled by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal.
Lead-counsel and co-heads of Shearwaters Martijn van Broeckhuijsen and Maarten Vestering said:
“This appeal court ruling is significant in that sets a realistic bar for fair compensation to be paid to managing directors as appointed by shareholders.
The appeal court disagreed with the lower court (and as such: agreed with our client) that the fair compensation should be as substantial as €600,000. It ruled that a significantly lower amount of €175,000 is fair enough.
We subscribe to the outcome of this court case in appeal. The high court follows the guidance as previously given by the Dutch Supreme Court in cases involving “blue collar” workers.
This mandate and the verdict itself demonstrate our sound judgment and underpin our track record as well as the strength of our strategic advice and litigation capabilities, next to the other pillar that others say we are good at: providing first class support in M&A deals.”
Amsterdam, March 2020
We proudly announce our international ranking and recognition as a leading law firm in the recently published editions of major and independent global legal directories Chambers Europe, Acritas™ and The Legal 500 Series EMEA.
In addition, our lawyer Martijn van Broeckhuijsen is a ‘highly recommended and leading lawyer’ in the 2020 guide of Chambers and Partners featuring the best lawyers and law firms across Europe. Martijn has been recognised as such since 2014. Our co-head Maarten Vestering is a recently named Acritas™ star lawyer in a new global database of client nominated star lawyers (also featuring some of our friends at BakerMcKenzie, Linklaters and Kirkland & Ellis).
This is what clients say about us (sources quoted date from 2019 and 2020):
“The lawyers have a deep understanding of labour law and are able to communicate difficult topics in an understandable way.”
“The team is regarded as ‘business-oriented’ and ‘knowledgeable on key topics.”
“A bold presence, exceptional knowledge, and great to work with. Able to adapt quite easily; you can put him in different situations and he is comfortable.”
“Provides advice without allowing the heat of the situation to interfere with timing and decisions.”
“Experienced, quick and really responsive.”
“Brings relevant experience and deep knowledge on the topics at hand.”
These international awards are based on in-depth, objective research (including feedback from clients) on our firm?s work over the preceding 12 months.
To learn more about Acritas™, Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500, please visit:
Shearwaters thanks its clients, its peers and the legal directories for their continued support.
Martijn van Broeckhuijsen and Maarten Vestering, co-heads of Shearwaters, said:
“We could not have asked for a better gift to mark our 5 year anniversary as a standalone, boutique, law firm and are moved and elevated by this consistent and reliable international praise since we started in January 2015. Our great team continues to bring in high profile mandates of Dutch corporate employment law in the international business environment, acting for leading international businesses and top executives.
We remain very humble and crisp, confident and optimistic, as this confirms our strong track record as a seasoned team of committed and trusted advisors with a distinct global mindset. The rankings motivate us to continue to move onward and upward and underpin the real measure of success for the work we do: client satisfaction. We look forward to what’s next!”
Amsterdam, June 2017
Shearwaters has secured victory for a leading international paper manufacturer in a landmark appeal case.
In 2016, the company turned to Shearwaters to terminate the legal relations with one of its prominent Management Board members.
In the course of this mandate, Shearwaters already obtained the first delicate, court ordered, termination of a board member’s employment agreement since new and stricter Dutch dismissal laws entered into force in 2015.
That 2016 verdict by the District Court was appealed by the former board member, but to no avail. The verdict has now been confirmed by the Amsterdam-based Court of Appeal.
Lead-counsel and co-heads of Shearwaters, Martijn van Broeckhuijsen and Maarten Vestering, said:
“This appeal court ruling is significant in that it confirms the very first lower court decision on complex dismissals of managing directors under current Dutch dismissal laws.
The appeal court agreed with the lower court (and as such: with our client) that an irreconcilable difference of opinion between all stakeholders regarding the organisational and management structure of the company qualifies as a reasonable ground for dismissal. The fact that the managing director was ill at the time of his dismissal did not prevent the dismissal since the illness was unrelated to the company’s request for the dismissal.
We are satisfied with the outcome of this court case in appeal. This mandate reflects the strength of our strategic advice and litigation capabilities, next to our other pillar: providing first class support in M&A deals.”
Former and seasoned employment law expert of BakerMcKenzie’s Amsterdam employment and pensions team, Maarten Vestering, has joined Dutch boutique firm Shearwaters as a partner.
Amsterdam, 1 September 2015
Maarten Vestering has reunited with his former colleague Martijn van Broeckhuijsen, who left BakerMcKenzie in 2010 to head up Linklaters Amsterdam employment and pensions team.
Maarten Vestering brings with him 15 years of experience in advising corporates, financial institutions and executives operating internationally, on stand-alone employment law matters and on the employment law aspects of mergers, acquisitions, closures and relocations of businesses.
“I am excited about joining Shearwaters and reuniting with my former colleague Martijn van Broeckhuijsen. We will continue to build our track record as committed and trusted advisors to corporate clients and executives facing the challenges of Dutch corporate employment law in the international business environment.”
Martijn van Broeckhuijsen
Founding Partner of Shearwaters:
“We are very happy with Maarten’s arrival. He has an excellent reputation and vast experience at the world’s largest law firm. His arrival enhances our offering to clients. At the same time, it underpins our strength and goal: fostering personal relationships with companies and executives alike, enabling us to consistently and successfully resolve their high-end matters of Dutch corporate employment law.”
We are Shearwaters, the boutique law firm focusing solely on Dutch corporate employment law. We work from Amsterdam’s financial district (Zuidas). Our clients are internationally operating corporates, financial institutions and (senior) executives.
Shearwaters helps its clients navigate through the complexities of Dutch corporate employment law in the following three areas:
- Transactional support;
- Strategic advice;
- Litigation and mediation.
The lawyers at Shearwaters are a seasoned team of committed and trusted advisors to corporate clients and executives facing the challenges of Dutch corporate employment law in the international business environment.
They are highly specialised and highly experienced in this field, having worked at global law firms Baker McKenzie and Linklaters and at prominent Dutch firm Houthoff Buruma for a combined period of some 90 years.
The lawyers at Shearwaters are particularly adept at advising clients on delicate (executive) dismissals, works council consultation processes, executive remuneration, collective redundancies and reorganisations (including negotiations with trade unions on social plans).
Shearwaters is best known for its strong track record as a seasoned team of committed and trusted advisors to corporate clients and executives and for its (other) strengths, which are:
- fostering personal relationships with companies and executives;
- being consistent and pragmatic, business oriented, focused, and well networked;
- getting things done, cutting through to key issues;
- providing sound judgement, not just technical expertise.