Arbitration in The Netherlands

Arbitration has become a widespread and preferred method of resolving disputes in many industries, such as the maritime, securities and construction industries. Less formal than court proceedings, arbitration is supposed to be quicker and more cost effective. Another useful advantage of arbitration is the better enforceability of arbitration awards internationally. Whatever the reason, parties nowadays tend to agree on arbitration on a wide scale.

New York Convention on Arbitration

The Netherlands is a party to the New York Convention on arbitration and arbitration awards. As a consequence the Dutch Courts are bound to recognize an agreement in writing in which the parties undertake to submit to arbitration should any disputes arise between them. At the request of one of the parties the Court will refer the parties to arbitration in a matter in respect of which the parties have made an arbitration agreement, unless it finds that the said agreement is null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed.

The Convention provides that each Contracting State shall recognize arbitral awards as binding and enforce them in accordance with the rules of procedure of the territory where the award is relied upon, under the conditions laid down in the following articles. Arbitral awards rendered in other Contracting States are recognised and enforceable in The Netherlands and vice versa. The convention has been implemented in Dutch legislation, more specifically in the 1986 Arbitration Act (Section 1020-1076 of the Dutch Code of Civil Procedure).

Ad hoc and Institutional Arbitration

As in other jurisdictions the parties may opt for ad hoc arbitration or institutional arbitration. There are various arbitration institutes in The Netherlands to opt for, but ad hoc arbitration remains a good and legally sound alternative.

Properly structured, ad hoc arbitration should be less expensive than institutional arbitration and, thus, better suit smaller claims and less affluent parties. Ad hoc arbitration places more of a burden on the arbitrators to organize and administer the arbitration in an effective manner. A distinct disadvantage of the ad hoc approach is that its effectiveness may be dependent upon the willingness of the parties to cooperate and the talents of the appointed arbitrators to keep the arbitration process going.

An institutional arbitration is one in which a specialized institution with a permanent character intervenes and assumes the functions of aiding and administering the arbitral process, as provided by the rules of that institution. Often, the contract between the parties will contain an arbitration clause which will designate an institution as the arbitration administrator. If the institutional administrative charges, which may be substantial, are not a factor, the institutional approach is generally preferred.

The Netherlands Arbitration Institute

The Netherlands Arbitration Institute was established as a non-profit foundation in 1949. Its Governing Board consists of representatives from the business community and the legal profession, as well as members of the judiciary, all of whom have extensive experience in the fields of arbitration, binding advice and mediation. The Governing Board also includes representatives from the Dutch Central Chamber of Commerce in The Hague, the Dutch Organisation of the International Chamber of Commerce and the Dutch Association for Industry and Trade, and Accountancy. The secretariat is located in Rotterdam.

The NAI administers arbitration pursuant to the 2001 NAI Arbitration Rules. Binding advice proceedings are also administered pursuant to the same Rules, while mediation is administered pursuant to the 2009 NAI Mediation Rules.

Transport And Maritime Arbitration Rotterdam-Amsterdam TAMARA

The Dutch Legal Community realised that there was a need for quality arbitration in Maritime and International Trade Issues. The foundation "Stichting Transport and Maritime Arbitration Rotterdam-Amsterdam (TAMARA)" for arbitration in transport cases was established in 1988 by Dutch maritime lawyers and interest groups in the fields of shipping, transport and international commerce. Over the past years, the TAMARA foundation has become a well-established arbitration board, in particular in Dutch maritime circles, and is a well known alternative for settling disputes by means of arbitration.

Disputes that are commonly handled by the TAMARA foundation are disputes relating to shipbuilding (yachts, freighters, drilling platforms), financing and insurance, chartering, cargo claims, stevedore and agency services, physical distribution and ship broker’s services, as well as relating to other modes of transport.

Arbitration via the TAMARA foundation has increasingly become an alternative for traditional court procedures and for the London arbitration. Arbitration via the TAMARA foundation offers settlement of disputes at least the same standard as a traditional court procedure or the London arbitration, but within a significantly shorter period of time and at considerably lower cost. In order to enhance these goals, the TAMARA rules were revised in 2008. They provide a tight, modern procedure, enhancing speed and efficiency.

Other Arbitration Institutions

The two Arbitration Institutions discussed above, are just two of the many Arbitration Institutions in The Netherlands. Our lawyers assist our clients before a huge number of other Arbitration Institutions, amongst which the Arbitration Board for the Building Industry in the Netherlands, that traditionally arbitrates a majority of the building conflicts in The Netherlands. Another industry where a lot of disputes are resolved through arbitration is the Health Care Industry. The Dutch Forwarders Association FENEX also avails over its own Arbitration Institution, not unlike a lot of other sector specific associations.

Further information

Arbitration in The Netherlands is a reliable option to resolve conflicts. LVH Advocaten assists clients from all over the world. The firm offers services that are reliable, efficient and professional, and tailored to meet the needs of our clients.

Should you be looking for representation in arbitration proceedings in the Netherlands, or you query the validity of an arbitration clause, our firm of experienced professionals can provide you with an excellent and cost effective service. For further information, please feel free to contact our Arbitration contact person. Your questions are always welcome.

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