What can you do if your assignment is terminated?


In rechtReeKs, the Kunstenbond, the union for artists and everyone who works in the cultural and creative sector, each edition highlights a topic that is fundamental to the professional practice of the professional artist. Jet Hootsmans, a lawyer at the Kunstenbond, explains what the options are if your contract is terminated prematurely and gives tips on agreements you can make to improve your position.

Image: Harry van der Woud, Golden rain
For each column in the rechtReeKs series, the Arts Union chooses an appropriate image created by one of its member artists that has no relation to the issues in the article.


When I made a haircutting appointment online the other day, a pop up appeared with the "no show policy. If I cancelled within 24 hours, I had to pay half the cost of the treatment. At restaurants, sometimes you can only make reservations with a deposit, and when my son forgot his orthodontist appointment the other day, I received a bill for the missed consultation the same day.

What if your assignment is terminated, can you bill for the missed revenue? Or at least some of it?

It happened to a video artist who was to create an exhibition of five installations that would be on display in five storefront windows for three months. The arrangements had been made and she confidently set to work. Until the client withdrew in the middle of the project. Now what?

The basic principle is that an assignment contract may always and immediately be terminated by the client. Even if it has been entered into for a completed period, such as three months. This is only different if different agreements have been made. Think of the agreement that the assignment cannot be terminated prematurely or a notice period in case of an assignment for an indefinite or longer period.

The arrangements had been made and she went to work confidently. Until the client withdrew in the middle of the project. Now what?

There was no such agreement in this case. That was quite a setback. As a result, the artist fell back on the legal arrangement and was now only entitled to a settlement.

If an hourly rate is agreed upon, then the hours worked can be billed. This is fairly straightforward. If payment depends on the performance of the job, then you are entitled to "a portion of the salary to be reasonably determined." In any case, this means settling the work you did up to the termination. In this case, making two installations.

In addition, "reasonableness" can be used to claim a supplement. Consider the reason for termination. If the reason for the termination lies entirely with the client, for example because he or she terminated the lease for the shop windows, this may be reason to demand a higher compensation. Another factor may be whether you (demonstrably) let other assignments run after accepting the assignment. This is another reason to ask for a higher fee.

Be alert to the fact that appointments need to be made and make sure you don't start work until they are clear

As with the termination, you can make different arrangements for the settlement. For example, you can agree on additional compensation in addition to your fee. For example, with the agreement that upon termination, the work done up to that point will be compensated plus 30% of the remaining compensation. By doing so, you are not only helping yourself but also the industry. The more often this is agreed upon, the more common it becomes.

The Kunstenbond has prepared a set of general terms and conditions that includes this agreement. If you don't want to work with general terms and conditions, you can also copy and paste the provision.ërun to your agreement or include it in your quotation. As long as it is clear that this ONEn of your terms for the assignment is, and they are accepted by the client, it is good.

I often hear that it is found difficult to determine exactly when appointments should be made. Therefore, as a final tip as a bouncer: be alert to the fact that agreements need to be made and make sure you don't get to work before they are clear. Enter into the conversation in good time and record the agreements. This can also be a low-threshold e-mail in which you describe the agreements and ask for a reply with an agreement. It is often appreciated by the client if you take the lead.

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