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Shopping Center Operator Not Authorized to Impose Sunday Opening

By judgment of 30 June 2021, the Subdistrict Court in Leiden ruled that the operator of the Winkelhof shopping center was not allowed to unilaterally adjust the rules, such that Halfords had to be open on Sundays. The operator and lessor of the Shopping Center believed that it did have this right on the basis of the lease concluded between Halfords and Wereldhave.

Unrest arose when Wereldhave distributed a renewed, unilaterally amended bylaws to entrepreneurs established in the shopping center in August 2020. In November 2020, summary proceedings were held in which the court ruled that each case stood alone and had to be assessed separately. To date, three
Winkelhof entrepreneurs have called in Bos Van der Burg lawyers and dared to stand up to their large - listed - landlord in the middle of the corona crisis. Halfords was the first to sit on the bench.

In accordance with the claims filed by Bos Van der Burg advocaten, the Subdistrict Court ruled in its judgment that Halfords is not obliged to be open on Sundays and cannot be obliged to open on Sundays. Furthermore, with regard to the penalty clauses that Wereldhave had included in the lease contracts, the Subdistrict Court ruled that Halfords is not obliged to pay the fines because Wereldhave was not authorized to impose fines for not being open on Sundays.

Lawyers Kees van der Burg and Maurice van Leeuwen of Bos van der Burg Lawyers in Zoetermeer, who have assisted Halfords and the joint entrepreneurs from August 2020, say in a response that they are pleased, but not surprised, with this ruling. “There was no unilateral amendment clause included in the lease in this specific case.” According to Van Leeuwen, without such a clause, a landlord cannot unilaterally decide to extend the opening time, at least not as drastic as a structural Sunday opening. "This had already been determined in previous case law, but that case law was already 7 years old."

Van der Burg and Van Leeuwen expect that this could have consequences for specific tenants in various shopping centers. They may have been more convinced that they had no choice. Now that it appears that in specific cases it is not always clear that entrepreneurs are obliged to comply with what is imposed by the landlord, it may be advisable for specific cases to take a closer look at the applicable conditions.

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Maurice van Leeuwen's picture

Maurice graduated in Corporate Law from Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2019. At that time, he had already been working for 10 years in various advisory positions that were mostly business economically oriented. In addition to a legal background, Maurice is also economically trained. The combination of the two courses ensures that financially complex problems can also be properly processed in the legal process.

His practice focuses mainly on corporate law, contract law, debt collection, and employment law. Maurice likes open and honest communication with his clients. This means that the client always knows where it stands. Honesty and openness on both sides are essential for him to build a good relationship of trust between lawyer and client. In this way he quickly gets to the heart of the problem with clients and tries to find a method to give the client what he is entitled to.

Maurice has a broad legal orientation, has a thorough knowledge of civil law with a focus on corporate law practice. Maurice assists both companies and individuals in a variety of civil matters, which may consist of litigation, but also consultancy work.