Requirements upon Agreements in Favour of the NCC and the German Chambers – Clashing with the Brussels Ibis Regulation?
14 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2019
Date Written: October 1, 2019
In recent years, the Netherlands and Germany have added themselves to the ever-growing number of countries opting for the creation of an international commercial court. The Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC) and the German Chambers for International Commercial Disputes (Kammern für internationale Handelssachen, KfiH) will conduct proceedings entirely in English and follow their own, diverging rules of civil procedure. Aspiring to become the future venues of choice in international commercial disputes, the NCC law and the legislative proposal for the establishment of the KfiH allow parties to agree on their jurisdiction and entail detailed provisions regulating such agreements. In particular, the NCC requires the parties’ express and in writing agreement to litigate before it. In a similar vein, the KfiH legislative proposal requires in some instances an express and in writing agreement. Although such strict formal requirements are justified by the need to safeguard the procedural rights of weaker parties such as small enterprises and protect them from the peculiarities of the NCC and the KfiH, this article questions their compliance with the requirements upon choice-of-court agreements under Article 25 (1) Brussels Ibis Regulation. By qualifying agreements in favour of the NCC and the KfiH first as functional jurisdiction agreements and then as procedural or court-language agreements, this article concludes that the formal requirements set by the NCC law and the KfiH proposal undermine the effectiveness of the Brussels Ibis Regulation, complicate the establishment of these courts’ jurisdiction and may thus threaten their attractiveness as future litigation destinations.
Keywords: international commercial courts, the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC), Chambers for International Commercial Disputes (Kammern für internationale Handelssachen), Brussels Ibis Regulation, choice-of-court agreements, formal requirements
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