Posted on: 22-01-2020

Netherlands Commercial Court

Written by:

Hein Kernkamp

English-language litigation in the Netherlands

Since 1 January 2019 it is an option to litigate before the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC). The NCC handles cases in English as standard and makes a judgment in English. The procedures are fully tailored to the most efficient possible handling of complex international trade cases, both at first instance and on appeal.


The NCC is a special chamber of the Amsterdam court and of the Amsterdam court of justice. Judges, counselors and legal staff from all over the Netherlands work at the NCC who have specific expertise and experience and also have a good command of English.

The NCC offers international companies an effective and expert forum that can resolve international trade disputes within a reasonable time and at a reasonable cost. As a rule, the NCC is considerably less expensive than arbitrage, because arbitrators are generally paid per person per hour, while for court cases the payment of court fees gives entrance to the full procedure.

Furthermore, parties now can opt for dispute resolution by the Dutch judiciary, which is ranked among the most efficient, reliable and transparent judiciaries worldwide.

Another important advantage is that every employee of a party can be involved in the preparation of proceedings, even if he does not speak the Dutch language. Lawyers form different countries and jurisdictions can jointly draft submissions. This means that a suitable team can be formed to prepare the case together with the lawyer, without language barriers.

Litigation before the Netherlands Commercial Court

When is the NCC competent to hear the matter?

The regulations stipulate that a number of conditions need to be met to be allowed to bring a case to the Netherlands Commercial Court. The most important are:

  • The Amsterdam District Court has international jurisdiction
  • It is a civil or commercial matter in an international dispute
  • It is not a cantonal case or case that belongs exclusively to another court
  • Parties have made a choice of forum for the NCC before or after the dispute arose

When is there an international dispute?

There is an international dispute quite quickly, such as in the following cases:

  • A party is established abroad
  • A party is established under foreign law
  • A treaty or foreign law applies to the dispute
  • The dispute arises from an agreement that is in a language other than in Dutch
  • The majority of employees worldwide work outside the Netherlands
  • More than half of the consolidated turnover is achieved outside the Netherlands
  • Shares are traded on a regulated stock market outside the Netherlands
  • The dispute concerns legal acts outside the Netherlands
  • The dispute has otherwise relevant cross-border interest

Choice of forum for the NCC

There are special requirements for the choice of forum. It must be a choice:

  • "in writing", so not verbally agreed
  • "explicit": tacit acceptance of an NCC clause in general conditions are not sufficient

The NCC is also competent in cases for which the judge in interlocutory proceedings is competent, such as summary or interim proceedings, a request for
a conservatory attachment or a request for a cross-border European Bank attachment. The claim for annulment of a arbitrary judgment can also be submitted to NCCA, provided that Amsterdam is chosen as the place of arbitration.

Model clause

The model clause for a forum choice clause for the Netherlands Commercial Court is as follows:

All disputes arising out of or in connection with this agreement will be resolved by the Amsterdam District Court following proceedings in English before the Chamber for International Commercial Matters (“Netherlands Commercial Court” or “NCC District Court”), to the exclusion of the jurisdiction of any other courts. An action for interim measures, including protective measures, available under Dutch law may be brought in the NCC's Court in Summary Proceedings (CSP) in proceedings in English. Any appeals against NCC or CSP judgments will be submitted to the Amsterdam Court of Appeal’s Chamber for International Commercial Matters (“Netherlands Commercial Court of Appeal” or “NCCA”).

More information

A procedure for the NCC is a relatively new option for resolving conflicts with international aspects. Our lawyers have been litigating for years in these kinds of international disputes, also through cooperation with foreign lawyers. A new dimension is now being added, because the documents can actually be drafted and discussed together, so it will be more teamwork than ever!

If you want to spar with us about a procedure for the NCC, please contact us for a no-obligation consultation. We are happy to assist the international community in bringing a dispute to an end through the use of this new form of litigation.

More information?

Hein Kernkamp will gladly help you further.

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