The establishment of the Netherlands Commercial Court ('NCC') is well under way. It is expected to launch mid 2018 and it will be dedicated to commercial and international disputes.
The NCC will focus on international trade disputes in a broad sense. The court will be set up at the courts of Amsterdam, both at the District Court as well as at the Appeal Court level. All disputes will be resolved by three (Dutch) judges in both first instance and appeal. The judges are specialized in international trade law, are experts in handling international commercial disputes and are selected based on their English proficiency.
Litigation before the NCC can only take place on a voluntary basis, so a written agreement is needed to settle a dispute through the NCC. Parties to the dispute do not have to be Dutch, nor does the conflict have to be governed by Dutch law. Proceedings can be conducted in English, resulting in a decision drafted in English, unless the Dutch language is chosen by all the parties. The NCC will apply Dutch civil procedural law.
The NCC is promised to be an interesting alternative to cross-border arbitration or litigation before other national or international courts. Compared to other jurisdictions, litigation in the Netherlands is relatively cheap, there is no typical award for actual costs against the losing party, and Dutch procedural law does not have an onerous discovery or disclosure phase. Another benefit of the NCC is that its decisions can be executed throughout the EU without the need for court intervention.