The NCC: Dutch court proceedings in English language

Written on 19 Jun 2018

The Netherlands Commercial Court (‘NCC’) is moving ever closer to becoming a reality. The NCC bill was adopted by the House of Representatives on 8 March 2018 and is steadily moving forward in the Senate.

The NCC is a specialised court designed to meet the growing need for efficient dispute resolution of civil or commercial matters with an international aspect in English language.

Features of the NCC

Based in Amsterdam, the NCC operates under Dutch procedural law, which is highly regarded for its pragmatism and efficiency, while the working language of the NCC is English. 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.

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.

Next to the NCC a specialist chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, the Netherlands Commercial Court of Appeal (‘NCCA’), will be set up to hear appeals.

Next steps

Yesterday the Standing Committee on Security and Justice enacted an additional preliminary report on the NCC bill. The Minister will respond to this report, generally within four weeks, after which a public hearing will take place in the Senate. Since the Senate is not authorized to propose any amendments to the bill, it will either be passed or rejected.

If it passes, which it is expected to, the NCC is expected to open its doors in the third quarter of 2018.

If you would like to know more about the NCC and how it can benefit your business, feel free to contact our team of experts.