Jurisdiction under Dutch law


Jurisdiction in The Netherlands over commercial cases

International commercial relationships are often extensive and complex. The complexity of these relationships requires suitably qualified courts and judges.

The Netherlands Commercial Court is a Dutch national court with jurisdiction over commercial matters. With the introduction of this court the Netherlands has offered (international) parties a forum with subject matter jurisdiction over commercial disputes, including contract, tort, property law and company/corporate law disputes. Every case will be heard by three judges specialised in dealing with international commercial disputes.

The Netherlands Commercial Court’s personal jurisdiction will be based on consent. Parties must choose to subject their disputes to the competence of this court. There is no nationality requirement. As a result, the court hears disputes solely between Dutch parties, disputes between Dutch and foreign parties and even cases between foreign parties where there is no link to the Netherlands or Dutch law. This makes the Netherlands Commercial Court an attractive option for foreign parties looking for a neutral forum for the resolution of a commercial dispute.

Judges are selected on the basis of:

  1. their knowledge of private law, in particular specialist knowledge of corporate law, insurance law, banking and financial law, transportation law, intellectual property law or any other relevant specialisations, as well as Dutch procedural law
  2. their active and passive knowledge of legal English
  3. their experience with large, complex (international) trade disputes
  4. their knowledge of American and English procedural law
  5. and their familiarity with the international commercial world and commercial legal practice.

Requirements for the court’s subject matter jurisdiction

An action may be initiated in the Netherlands Commercial Court if it pertains to a civil or commercial matter within the autonomy of the parties. Such a matter must not be subject to the jurisdiction of the Dutch Cantonal Court or subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of any other chamber or court.

The matter must have an international aspect.

The parties to the proceedings must have designated the District Court in Amsterdam as the forum to hear their case, or the District Court in Amsterdam has jurisdiction to hear the case on other grounds, and the parties have expressly agreed that the proceedings will be in the English language and will be governed by the Rules of Procedure for the International Commercial Chambers of the Amsterdam District Court (Netherlands Commercial Court).


Jurisdiction requirements for Summary Proceedings

What are the jurisdiction requirements for Summary Proceedings in the Netherlands Commercial Court?

An action may be initiated in the Court in Summary Proceedings (CSP) where a provisional or protective measure is sought or another decision for which the court in summary proceedings is designated by Dutch law.

Of course, the other conditions for the jurisdiction the Netherlands Commercial Court must also be satisfied.


Jurisdiction requirements for Appeal Proceedings

What are the jurisdiction requirements for Appeal Proceedings in the Netherlands Commercial Court of Appeal?

An action may be initiated in the Netherlands Commercial Court of Appeal on appeal against a decision by the Netherlands Commercial Court (including decisions in Summary Proceedings).

Furthermore, the Netherlands Commercial Court of Appeal will hear cases in first instance, if:

  1. the matter is eligible for appeal and
  2. the NCC jurisdiction requirements set out above are satisfied, and
  3. the parties having designated (not the Amsterdam District Court) but the Amsterdam Court of Appeal.

Jurisdiction following arbitration

The Netherlands Commercial Court of Appeal will also hear a case following an arbitration (as set out in article 1064a of the Dutch Code of Civil Procedure):

  1. in which the parties to the proceedings have designated the Amsterdam District Court as the forum to hear their case (or the Amsterdam District Court has jurisdiction to hear the action on other grounds)
  2. and the parties to the proceedings have expressly agreed that the proceedings will be in English and will be governed by the Rules of Procedure for the International Commercial Chambers of the Amsterdam District Court (Netherlands Commercial Court)
  3. and the place of arbitration is in the appellate district of Amsterdam.

Determination of jurisdiction

The Netherlands Commercial Court will determine whether it has jurisdiction and is the proper venue in the action and whether the above requirements have been satisfied.

The court must test whether the matter has an international aspect and whether the parties to the proceedings have designated the District Court in Amsterdam as the forum to hear their case of its own initiative.

Where a defendant appears solely to deny that the action is within the Netherlands Commercial Court's authority to deal with, the defendant will be charged a lower court fee. Additionally, the defendant may request that this issue be dealt with in Dutch. The Netherlands Commercial Court will honour that request, unless the defendant does not have a sufficient interest.


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