Netherlands Commercial Court shall open its doors in 2017

Following on from several global commercial centres (London, Dublin, Singapore, Delaware (US) and Dubai, The Netherlands shall open a ‘Commercial Court’ on 1 January 2017, to resolve international trade disputes. This idea by the Council of the Judiciary dates back to 2014, but is now being implemented. But what does it mean exactly and what is the added value for the existing legal practice? Dutch lawyer Marco Guit, owner at law firm AMS Advocaten, explains.

Litigation at the Netherlands Commercial Court

There is an increasing demand for courts specializing in international and complex trade disputes. A Commercial Court is a specialized court that can hear such disputes. The Dutch version of the Commercial Court shall be a part of the Court of Amsterdam, with the Court of Appeal of Amsterdam offering the possibility for appeal. It is expected that 100 cases in the first instance and 25 appeals shall be heard. A legislative amendment will still be required to hold the legal proceedings in English.

Legal proceedings at the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC)

The NCC meets a need that falls between normal legal proceedings and international arbitration proceedings. The NCC offers specific expert knowledge and quality of the court judges, which will lead to more efficient handling of cases, and therefore lower costs. Also, the proceedings can be conducted digitally and in English under Dutch procedural law. Internationally this is considered to be efficient, expeditious, cost-effective and quick. Also, the Dutch legal system is known to be independent, impartial, cost-effective and quick.

Strong economy, good business conditions

In spite of the fact that The Netherlands has some catching up to do (London has worked with this system since 2011), according to the Council of the Judiciary the NCC can bring in 60 to 75 million euro for Dutch society. A strong (international) legal system helps build a strong economy, good business conditions and thus more jobs! The Netherlands is an export country with an open economy and a major logistics industry. These factors can contribute to the success of the NCC.

NCC alternative for international arbitration proceedings?

The issue remains whether this court will indeed provide a viable alternative for the international arbitration practice. Based on the New York Convention, arbitration awards can be enforced virtually all over the world. This does not apply to rulings to be pronounced by the NCC.