It will soon be possible to litigate in English before the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC) in Amsterdam and to receive a decision drafted in English. It will also be possible to conduct appeal proceedings before the Netherlands Commercial Court of Appeal (NCCA) in English. The NCC will hear all types of international commercial disputes, such as contractual disputes and actions arising from an unlawful act, property law disputes and corporate law issues. It will also be possible to ask the NCCA to set aside an arbitral award. Parties to the dispute will not have to be Dutch, nor will the conflict have to be governed by Dutch law. Litigation before the NCC will only take place on a voluntary basis, meaning that a written agreement will be needed to settle a dispute through the NCC.
The proceedings before the NCC will be subject to Dutch procedural law. Dutch proceedings are considered efficient and less extensive, and therefore shorter and less expensive than proceedings in English-speaking countries. In the WJP Rule of Law Index 2017-2018 the civil justice system in the Netherlands was ranked first. This is why the NCC might be of interest to parties that would otherwise have chosen a non-Dutch court or arbitration procedure.
All cases before the NCC will be heard and decided by a three-judge division. Only preliminary relief proceedings will be heard before a single-judge court. Wherever possible, digital means will be used in the proceedings, such as recordings or video conferences.
Both parties will have to pay court fees on commencement of the proceedings amounting to approximately €15,000 for proceedings on the merits before the NCC and €7,500 for preliminary relief proceedings. The party against which judgment has been rendered will have to pay a modest part of the legal costs incurred by the winning party.
At present, the legislative proposal enabling the introduction of the NCC is being assessed in Parliament. Yesterday, 8 March, the Lower House adopted the legislative proposal and now the Upper House will consider it. The NCC is expected to become operational mid-2018.