New English language courts in Amsterdam
Business across borders
Today, most companies do business across borders. It has become the new normal to buy your goods from a Chinese company, have your goods shipped by a Danish company to a market in Europe or North-America. Throughout this supply chain conflicts can, and do arise. Goods go undelivered, bills go unpaid or a former partner starts violating your business’s intellectual property rights.
Meanwhile national courts have failed to adapt to this new reality. This has meant that multinational companies have had to rely on expensive arbitration, or have been forced to file their claims in a language that they do not understand.
The Netherlands Commercial Court
To provide in the needs of this new globalized economy the government of the Netherlands is about to launch the new Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC) and the Netherlands Commercial Court of Appeal (NCCA). The aim is that the courts, located in Amsterdam will provide an effective, quick, inexpensive and complete English language venue to adjudicate your inter-state disputes. The NCC will also have a Court in Summary Proceedings (CSP), which can be approached to obtain a provisional verdict in cases where time is of the essence.
In order to gain access to these courts both parties have to agree for the courts jurisdiction to be valid. In this regard, these new courts are very similar to corporate arbitration as a form of dispute settlement.
The benefits of filing your claims with the NCC or the NCCA
The main benefit of the new courts is that all aspects of the civil procedure will be conducted in English. Therefore it will no longer be necessary to translate the verdicts received before being able to execute them effectively in foreign countries. Another benefit is that Dutch court orders are eminently enforceable across the world, ranking second in the world in this aspect. This means that execution of the NCC’s verdicts will be easier and faster than the verdicts of the courts of a lot of other countries.
Verdict in digital format
In addition parties will gain access to a state of the art internet based portal through which most actions can be launched and the documents underlying the procedure can be accessed. Dutch civil courts are also known to be relatively fast, with an average duration of 130 days before reaching a verdict. The new digital systems will likely lead to even faster resolution times.
Costs associated with litigating through the NCC or the NCCA
Upon commencement of the proceeding in the CSP the parties will have to pay a fee to cover the court’s expenses of € 7.500. These fees are for the NCC €15.000 and for the NCCA € 20.000. Allocation of the costs of the parties will be based on the adjudication agreement between the parties, and absent such a clause in the agreement, the NCC rates will apply towards the losing party. These costs will likely be somewhere between € 1.000 and € 12.000 for each element of the procedure. While more expensive than regular civil proceedings in Dutch courts, these costs are significantly lower than those of arbitration.
At this point in time, only lawyers who are members of the Dutch bar association are allowed to file proceedings with the new courts.
Are you involved in an international commercial dispute and would you like to try to solve the issue in court? Do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our lawyers to discuss your possibilities.