The Netherlands Commercial Court: Opening soon!

Written on 14 Dec 2018

The Senate adopted the bill for the creation of the Netherlands Commercial Court ('NCC'), paving the way for the creation of a court specialized in the efficient resolution of complex international commercial disputes in English language. The NCC is designed to meet a growing demand from internationally operating companies to conduct proceedings in English language, whilst keeping the benefit of pragmatic and efficient Dutch procedural law.

Features

Jurisdiction of the NCC requires explicit agreement between parties. Parties will generally include a choice of forum clause in their agreements for this purpose, similar to how parties agree upon an arbitration clause. Note that due to the requirement of explicit agreement, a forum selection clause in the general terms and conditions will most likely not be sufficient.
The NCC will be an interesting alternative to international arbitration or litigation before national or foreign courts. Benefits of the NCC include:

  • Fixed fees: Court fees are fixed, which increases transparency of the costs of NCC proceedings in advance. Additionally, the court fees (in the first instance) are currently expected to be in the range of € 7,500 to € 15,000 – significantly lower than arbitration fees in international commercial arbitration proceedings.
  • Short time frames: Dutch procedural law is touted for its efficiency, with short time frames between different procedural steps ultimately leading to shorter and less costly proceedings.
  • Specialist judges: Judges and staff of the NCC are selected from all courts in the Netherlands for their specialised expertise as well as their fluency in the English language. Matters will be judged by panels of three judges.
  • Modern technology: Video and audio recordings of hearings will be made. Video-conferencing is possible to allow people to attend hearings from all over the world. Electronic filing of documents and electronic communication will be the standard.

In addition to the NCC a specialist chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, the Netherlands Commercial Court of Appeal, will be set up to hear appeals. The court fees in appeal are fixed as well and will be in the range of € 10,000 to € 20,000.

Opening soon

As a next step, the NCC bill will be co-signed by the King and the Minister of Justice. The NCC bill will subsequently enter into effect on a date determined by Royal Decree. If the legislator proceeds expeditiously, the NCC is expected to open its doors as early as December 2018 or January 2019.

If you would like to learn more about the NCC and how it can benefit your business, feel free to contact our litigation team in the Netherlands.