15 January 2019

Open for business: Netherlands Commercial Court ready for international cases in English

The eagerly anticipated Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC) was launched on 1 January 2019. The NCC is a new forum which allows parties to resolve international disputes and litigate in English. The NCC aims to become an attractive option for complex civil or commercial cases involving Dutch and non-Dutch parties alike. The establishment of the NCC will add a specialised chamber to the Amsterdam District Court. For appeals against NCC decisions, a dedicated chamber (NCCA) will form part of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal.

Parties to the dispute do not have to be Dutch, nor does the conflict have to be governed by Dutch law. The NCC’s jurisdiction will typically be based on choice of forum; parties can decide on the NCC as the designated forum either before or after a dispute arises. Although the Dutch Code of Civil Procedure applies, additional procedural court regulations have been drafted to suit the needs of the type of complex litigation that the NCC will handle. Proceedings can be conducted in English, resulting in a decision drafted in English. The court’s judges will be selected based on their English proficiency, their international dispute resolution experience, and their exceptional knowledge of commercial law. Compared to other countries, litigation in the Netherlands is relatively cheap. This can be attributed to  several reasons: Dutch court fees are relatively low; there is no typical award for actual costs against the losing party; and Dutch procedural law does not have an onerous discovery or disclosure phase. All these factors could make litigating before the NCC attractive. Finally, as the NCC will form part of the existing Dutch court system, its decisions can be executed throughout the EU without the need for court intervention.

All things considered, the NCC will be an interesting alternative to cross-border arbitration or litigation before other national or international courts

For more information, please visit the NCC website.

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