Planning of the Netherlands Commercial Court
The Netherlands Commercial Court Act (Wet Netherlands Commercial Court) is slated to come into force during the course of 2018.
The Netherlands Commercial Court has come one step closer to fruition on the 8th of March, 2018, when the Second Chamber of the Dutch parliament (the House of Representatives) voted in favor of the Netherlands Commercial Court Bill. This bill contains amendments to the Dutch Code of Civil Procedure to provide for the use of English as the language of proceedings and to allow the “international commercial chamber” of the Amsterdam District Court and Court of Appeal (as the Netherlands Commercial Court and Netherlands Commercial Court of Appeal are referred to in the Bill) to hand down judgments in the English language.
In addition to this, the bill also provides for certain amendments to the Dutch Civil Proceedings (Court Fees) Act to provide for the special filing fees that litigants before the Netherlands Commercial Court will have to pay.
The bill is now going to be dealt with by the senate (the First Chamber of the Dutch parliament). Directly after a bill has been passed by the House of Representatives it has been sent to the Senate. Here the bill is submitted to a parliamentary committee. The committee decides whether the bill can be immediately put on the agenda of the full chamber or whether there should first be preparatory study of the bill. If a bill is immediately put on the agenda of the full chamber, it will be passed as a formality without a debate.
The preparatory study of a bill consists mainly in written correspondence and the exchange of documents. The members of the committee present the views of their parliamentary party in writing and put questions to the Government. The Government replies in a note or memorandum of reply. Sometimes, there may be several rounds of correspondence, but one is generally considered sufficient.
After the written preparations have been completed, the Senate is notified that the bill is ready for debate by the full chamber. In due course the bill is then put on the plenary agenda.
So, the Netherlands Commercial Court seems to be on track to open its doors during the course of 2018.
Notwithstanding the delays in the launch of the NCC, support for the first fully English language commercial court in the Netherlands is strong. The strong political support for the initiative is apparent from the discussions of the Standing Committee, with Christian Democrat Madeleine van Toorenburg MP underlining the importance of the Netherlands Commercial Court, in particular with the Brexit on its way. This was echoed by Mr Foort Van Oosten MP, who cited the value of the NCC as a vehicle to promote the exemplary Dutch legal system and to attract litigation from other jurisdictions to the Netherlands. According to Mr Van Oosten, this is in keeping with the Netherlands’ history as a country with a tradition of international trade and an international legal profession.