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Netherlands Commercial Court
The Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC)) was created on 1 January 2019 to meet the increasing demand of the business world to swiftly and effectively resolve international business disputes. From an organisational point of view, the NCC is situated in the Dutch courts, being part of the District Court and Court of Appeal in Amsterdam. Proceedings and judgements are in English.
It is built on a solid foundation: 1) the reputation of the Dutch judiciary, which is ranked among the most efficient, reliable and transparent worldwide, and 2) the Netherlands – Amsterdam in particular – are a prime location for business, and a gateway to Europe. The NCC has the tools to communicate effectively and provide swift and firm guidance in complex litigation matters.
What are the key features of the NCC?
- Speedy proceedings: the Dutch courts are the 5th fastest in the European Union with an average of 130 days from a notice to appear to a final judgment.
- NCC judges are impartial, independent and experienced in complex international business matters.
- Cases are heard and disposed of by a three-judge panel.
- Active case management in consultation with the parties: typically a conference will be scheduled to discuss issues, motions, fact-finding and a timetable.
- Clear rules of procedure: the NCC Rules provide parties with reliable, transparent guidance on procedural matters.
- Focus on global best practices: the NCC Rules provide flexibility.
- 24/7 availability: in exceptionally urgent cases, the court is authorised to hear and decide cases anytime, anywhere.
- Low costs: a flat court fee of € 15,000 (NCC District Court) or € 20,000 (NCC Court of Appeal).
What is the jurisdiction of the NCC?
A matter may be submitted to NCC where the following requirements are met:
- the Amsterdam District Court or Amsterdam Court of Appeal has jurisdiction.
- the parties have expressly agreed in writing that proceedings will be in English before the NCC (the 'NCC agreement').
- the action is a civil or commercial matter within the parties’ autonomy.
- the matter concerns an international dispute.
The "civil or commercial matter" test is met where the dispute is related to civil law in a broad sense. These matters may be contractual disputes, claims in tort, property disputes, or intellectual property, technology, construction or corporate matters, as opposed to criminal charges or administrative proceedings.
The following special types of cases may be appropriate for NCC proceedings:
- A claim in a collective action, provided the Amsterdam District Court has jurisdiction based on criteria such as the domicile of one of the parties, or the place where the harmful event occurred.
- An application seeking a declaration that a collective settlement is universally binding (including third parties), provided the agreement is connected to the Netherlands, so that the Amsterdam Court of Appeal has jurisdiction.
- A claim to set aside an arbitral award that is filed in Amsterdam, provided there is an agreement that the proceedings will be in English before the NCC Court of Appeal.
The "international dispute" test is broad in scope. It is met not only where one or more of the parties have their domicile in a foreign jurisdiction, but also where the dispute otherwise involves a relevant cross-border interest, such as shareholders, employees or revenue located in or linked to a foreign jurisdiction.
What rules apply to the NCC?
The Netherlands Commercial Court applies Dutch procedural law and the NCC Rules. Proceedings before the NCC are governed by the NCC Rules of Procedure, outlining the main procedure and practice rules and reflect global best practices (such as the IBA Rules) and many Civil Procedure Code provisions, to create a baseline that judges, lawyers and parties can easily refer to.
Should you wish to obtain more information on the NCC proceedings and the various steps to be taken in the process, feel free to contact Kees Van der Burg.
Kees studied Dutch law at Leiden University, after which he completed specialised post-graduate courses in Insolvency Law (Insolad) and Real Property at the Grotius Academy.
Kees worked at the Haarlem District Court in 1989, then as an attorney with Van Hartingsveldt & Roest, a law firm in Leiden, until 1991. Kees has worked as a founding partner of BOS VAN DER BURG since 1991.