6 February 2019 marked the grand opening of the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC). The NCC is a newly founded court within the Dutch judiciary designed to deal with complex international commercial disputes. The NCC offers parties to business and trade disputes a forum where they can litigate in the English language before neutral and specialized Dutch judges.
Dutch proceedings in English
By establishing the NCC the Dutch legislator has embraced the international language of commerce. The proceedings before the NCC will be fully conducted in English and will result in English language judgments. Evidence may be presented in English, French, German or Dutch.
The NCC is not a separate court but part of the existing Dutch judicial system, which is widely recognized for its independence, impartiality and efficiency. The World Justice Project ranked the Dutch judiciary as number one in their 2017-2018 civil justice ranking.
Jurisdiction of the NCC is based on consent. Parties will have to expressly agree on the jurisdiction of the NCC, either before a dispute arises in a commercial contract or afterwards. The NCC will hear all commercial matters provided there is an international angle. No nationality requirement applies, making the NCC an attractive option also for foreign parties looking for a neutral forum. Although the NCC judges are specialized in Dutch law, foreign law will be applied when applicable.
Effective proceedings and good recovery options
The proceedings before the NCC will be conducted on the basis of Dutch procedural law and a set of tailored NCC procedural rules which allow for flexibility and autonomy of the parties. The Dutch procedural rules are generally regarded as practical and effective and do not entail a lengthy and costly disclosure phase.
NCC judgments will be regular Dutch court judgments thereby allowing automatic recognition and enforceability in the EU and easy enforceability in many other countries.
Dutch civil procedural rules provide for a wide spectrum of recovery options in the Netherlands, including the option of prejudgment attachments.
The NCC as alternative and supplement to arbitration
The NCC offers an alternative to commercial arbitration at a lower price. The NCC will charge an all-in court fee of EUR 7.500 for injunctive relief proceedings, EUR 15.000 for first instance proceedings and EUR 20.000 for appeal proceedings.
The NCC can also serve as a useful and cost saving supplement to arbitration. The NCC creates the possibility of English language enforcement of arbitral awards that are recognizable in the Netherlands. The NCC further allows English language setting aside proceedings of Amsterdam-seated arbitral awards.
 World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2017-2018, Factor 7: civil justice (p. 42), available at: https://worldjusticeproject.org.