Settlement of disputes concerning commercial issues can often be quite complex. What is the best way to resolve it? Should you take it to court or work out the details between yourselves? All of these questions may be relevant if you are looking to bring legal action against another entity within a commercial context. MAAK attorneys is a law firm in Amsterdam that specializes in commercial dispute settlement in the Netherlands. Our litigation attorney in the Netherlands would be happy to assist you if you have questions about this topic. In this post you will learn more about commercial disputes in the Netherlands and how they can be resolved.
WHAT ARE COMMERCIAL DISPUTES in the Netherlands?
Commercial disputes refer to disputes between business entities in a commercial context. This is usually involving two commercial entities that disagree about a part of a business agreement. Commercial disputes can be of varying size and complexity. This could include contract disputes, a breach of contract or breach of fiduciary duty, partnership or corporate disputes, product liability, shareholder disputes and breach of duty. Commercial disputes can be resolved by commercial litigation, commercial dispute resolution (arbitration), and mediation.
WHAT IS COMMERCIAL LITIGATION in the Netherlands?
Commercial litigation in the Netherlands refers to the pursuit of legal action regarding any type of business disputes. A commercial litigation attorney in the Netherlands is a representative of the best interests for the client. Our Dutch attorneys will create the legal strategy, file all paperwork and act as mediators if necessary. In general, the process outcome is predictable. It is rare for a cause-list judge to make an unexpected decision. While the court procedure rules are almost identical for all courts except for local variations, they are not inconsistent. In the Netherlands we have District Courts, Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court (De Hoge Raad).
WHICH JUDGE IN THE NETHERLANDS WILL HANDLE MY COMMERCIAL DISPUTE?
The decision about the forum in which a dispute is settled in the Netherlands can have an impact on how the proceedings are conducted, the cost involved, and ultimately, the outcome of the dispute. Predictability is possible by considering all options and choosing a forum. The Netherlands has one of the most efficient and effective legal systems in the world. If the parties did not agree in advance which tribunal or court will have jurisdiction in the event of a dispute they have, it will be decided by the applicable national conflicts of forum rules. This could lead to a complicated assessment if the contracting parties are located in different jurisdictions. Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 (Brussels I recast) contains jurisdiction rules for national courts in European member states. The outcome of applying these rules to a particular matter could mean that the parties must litigate before a different or unfamiliar court. It is important to include a clear agreement regarding the competent forum in the contract.
The Netherlands has 11 district courts, which are located in 11 judicial regions. If no agreement has been reached on a forum, these courts are competent if the defendant is located in that judicial area. Parties can choose from any one of the 11 district courts to be the competent court if they agree on court proceedings. The popularity of the courts in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague is due to their expertise and size.
The Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC) is a relatively new option of court proceedings which also offers English-speaking expert judges and specializes in complex commercial cases. The NCC is a part of the Amsterdam District Court (and court of Appeal). It was established on January 1, 2019, in response to Amsterdam’s increasing role as a premier location for business and gateway to Europe. Although the NCC’s court fees are slightly higher than the regular Dutch courts (15,000 EUR in the first instance), the NCC is still a cheaper alternative to arbitration.
COMMERCIAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ARBITRATION)
Arbitration is one of the most popular tools to resolve commercial litigation in the Netherlands, and the number of Dutch companies that settle commercial disputes via arbitration has increased significantly in the past few years. It gained popularity because arbitration is a good way for parties to settle their disputes confidentially. Also, arbitrators are usually experts in the topic of the dispute, which leads to a much more substantial litigation process. Furthermore, arbitration proceedings allow for greater flexibility in the process and other arrangements regarding communication. Book 4 of the Dutch Code of Civil Procedure (DCCP) contains the Arbitration Act. Additional arbitration rules may also be applicable if the parties have agreed to them. The Dutch law states that the procedure is decided by the arbitrators. Arbitrators are not subject to the same rules of evidence as in court proceedings.The Netherlands has many well-established arbitration institutions, including the Dutch Arbitration Institute for general commercial arbitration and UNUM (for trade or maritime disputes) and the Construction Arbitration Institute.
Arbitration is more expensive than court proceedings, which is a downside. This is because arbitration costs often include both administrative costs and fees of the arbitrators. Additionally, adverse cost awards can include actual lawyer’s fees. Though, there have been amendments to the DCCP that aimed to improve the efficiency of the process.
Mediation in the Netherlands
Commercial dispute settlement in the Netherlands can also end up in mediation. Mediation in the Netherlands is another method that commercial disputes can be settled. The Netherlands established a Mediation Institute in 1995. It keeps a list of registered mediators who are able to take on cases from all areas of law, including Commercial Litigation. In a commercial dispute, the mediator’s role is to assist litigating businesses to reach an agreement. The mediator will suggest a solution if the litigants do not agree.
DUTCH ATTORNEY specialized in COMMERCIAL LITIGATION
If you have questions about commercial dispute settlement in the Netherlands or would like to be represented by one of our lawyers in any of the commercial proceedings, please do not hesitate to contact one of our lawyers. Our Dutch attorneys are specialized in commercial litigation and will be happy to come to your assistance. Feel free to contact our litigation attorney in the Netherlands, Remko Roosjen.