The Netherlands Commercial Court in Amsterdam
Procedures & Geschillenbeslechting
08 november 2021
The Netherlands is an international hub for complex litigation and dispute resolution. Therefore, inspired by cities like London, Singapore, Delaware, Dubai and Dublin, the Dutch courts have created the Netherlands Commercial Court, an international commercial court situated in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. As of 1 January 2019, the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC) and the Netherlands Commercial Court of Appeal (NCCA) have opened their doors for business. Since the start of the NCC, it has already rendered its judgments in several cases, all to be found on its website.
The NCC focuses on complex international civil or commercial disputes. There is no need for parties to have a connection with the Netherlands; also non-Dutch parties can litigate in English before the NCC and the dispute submitted to the NCC, does not have to be governed by Dutch law.
International civil or commercial disputes
Parties may initiate an action in the NCC District Court if (i) the parties to the proceedings have expressly agreed in writing for proceedings that will be in English before the NCC, (ii) the matter concerns an international dispute, (iii) the parties to the proceedings have designated the Amsterdam District Court as the forum to hear their case or the Amsterdam District Court has jurisdiction (based on a choice-of-court clause or other rules) and (iv) the action is a civil or commercial matter within the parties’ autonomy.
The term “civil or commercial matter” is relatively broad; it includes contractual disputes, claims in tort, property law disputes, corporate law matters, insurance, finance, intellectual property, public procurement, competition, telecommunications, transportation and government liability. Insolvency-related matters and family or inheritance disputes could also be in the scope, although the NCC was not created mainly to focus on these matters.
Also the “international” test is broad in scope. If one or more of the parties have their domicile in a non-Dutch jurisdiction or the dispute involves a relevant cross-border interest, such as shareholders, employees or revenue located in or linked to a non-Dutch jurisdiction, the matter concerns an international dispute.
Why would you bring a case before the NCC:
- English language: language of the proceedings (and the judgement) is in English, which also saves costs for translations.
- foreign lawyers registered at an EEA Member State or the Switzerland Bar can litigate before the NCC, provided they work in conjunction with a member of the Dutch Bar.
- Amsterdam: the NCC is based in Amsterdam at the Paleis of Justitie (Palace of Justice), just 20 minutes from Schiphol Airport.
- Speedy proceedings: Dutch courts are the fifth fastest in the EU with an average of 130 days from a notice to appear to a final judgement.
- Efficient, reliable and transparent: the NCC is situated in the Dutch courts, which are ranked among the most efficient, reliable and transparent worldwide. According to the World Justice Project (WJP), an independent, multidisciplinary organization working to advance the rule of law worldwide, Dutch courts are ranked number 1 worldwide.
- Clear rules of procedure: the NCC Rules provide parties with reliable, transparent guidance on procedural matters.
- Focus on global best practice (such as the IBA Rules (rules from the International Bar Association): the NCC Rules provide flexibility.
- Electronic communications: all documents are submitted electronically in eNCC, which is the NCC portal with secure access through the NCC website (ncc.gov.nl), allowing the Dutch counsel to initiate action, check the status and scheduled next steps and submit and download documents.
- 24/7 availability: in exceptionally urgent cases, the NCC is authorized to hear and decide cases anytime, anywhere.
- Three-judge panel: cases are heard and disposed of by a three-judge panel, consisting of judges with broad international experience. Preliminary relief proceedings will be heard before a single-judge court.
Enforcement of NCC judgments
NCC judgements are judgments issued by a Dutch court and are therefore recognized and enforceable in the EU. These judgements are immediately enforceable by the competent enforcement authority. The enforcement of NCC judgements outside the EU is governed by international conventions to which the Netherlands is a party and by general private international law in the jurisdiction where enforcement is sought. This for instance means that the NCC judgments are (under conditions) enforceable in for instance Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
We believe that the NCC provides a good alternative for other foreign courts and we strongly advise parties to initiate proceedings before the NCC in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
If you would like to find out more about (litigation before) the NCC, please feel free to contact Henk Brat and Marc Janssen.