The Dutch courts recently decided to establish a new division within the judicial system: the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC). The new court is intended to meet high demand from the business community for an international commercial court based in the Netherlands. NCC judges will be specialised in international trade law and the court will apply Dutch civil procedural law. In principle, the NCC's working language will be English.

It is envisaged that from January 1 2017, the NCC will be able to rule on larger trade disputes, in particular those of a cross-border nature. This means that the NCC will also have (non-exclusive) jurisdiction in any dispute in which:

  • foreign substantive law applies;
  • one or more parties are established outside the Netherlands; or
  • the relevant legal facts have occurred outside the Netherlands.

Litigation before the NCC will have several significant advantages. The NCC exclusively applies Dutch civil procedural law, which is known to be pragmatic, expeditious and predictable. This allows the parties to realise considerable savings on their legal costs. Another advantage for international parties is that the working language of NCC court proceedings will be English, unless Dutch is preferred. This will not only make the proceedings transparent for the parties, but also allow foreign English-speaking lawyers to conduct proceedings. Further, it will eliminate the need for costly translations of procedural documents. Similar to 'regular' Dutch civil law proceedings, either party can appeal the NCC's judgment to the competent Dutch court of appeal and the Supreme Court. Thus, it is clear that litigation before the NCC will not be detrimental to the parties' legal rights.

The minister of security and justice has approved the Dutch courts' decision to establish the NCC and the necessary legislation is being prepared. In time, the NCC is expected to become a valuable asset to the Dutch legal system and the international business community.

For further information on this topic please contact Eelkje van de Kuilen at AKD by telephone (+31 88 253 50 00) or email (evandekuilen@akd.nl). The AKD website can be accessed at www.akd.nl.

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