Our civil law practice focuses on resolving complex national and international trade disputes before a civil judge. Cases frequently involve contracts in sectors such as construction, oil and gas extraction, energy, distribution, transport, telecom, pharmaceuticals, financing and insurance. Many of the civil proceedings we handle concern compensation claims due to breach of contract or unlawful trading; other proceedings relate to the conclusion, performance, termination or nullification of agreements. The main proceedings are frequently preceded by preliminary relief proceedings or prejudgment attachment.
The term ‘corporate litigation’ includes proceedings to resolve disputes concerning the inner workings of a company. This may concern disputes between shareholders (that can lead to enquiry proceedings before the Enterprise Chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal), disputes before or after an M&A-transaction, liability of directors or supervisory board members, liability within a group of companies, proceedings to squeeze out minority shareholders, class actions, prospectus liability, and disputes arising out of financing and restructuring and disputes concerning the duty of care of banks.
Companies are increasingly choosing the arbitration route to settle complex national and international commercial disputes. They prefer the dispute to be assessed by arbitrators who know their sector, in the knowledge that the outcome will be enforced globally under the Treaty of New York. Disputes generally arise over financing, acquisitions, trade contracts or construction projects. In contrast to proceedings before an ordinary court, arbitration proceedings take place behind closed doors and appeal is usually not possible. Perhaps this is why arbitration is becoming more appealing for the settlement of purely national disputes as well.
Arbitration demands specific knowledge and experience, and proceedings are primarily governed by the arbitration law in force at the place of arbitration and by any applicable arbitration regulations. They are conducted mostly in English and subject to Anglo-Saxon influences (for example, the cross-examination of witnesses and the discovery of documents).
A large variety of institutes can administer arbitration (such as the NAI, ICC, LCIA, ICDR, DIAC and SCC) and each one has its own regulations. For arbitration to be successful, it is essential to have specific knowledge of the sector as well as any other laws that apply to the commercial agreement in dispute.
Our practice is recognised for assisting with the enforcement of domestic and foreign state court judgments and arbitral awards. Enforcement often requires close cooperation between numerous jurisdictions. We have successfully attached assets in the Netherlands both pre- and post-judgments and prevailed on requests for the enforcement of state court judgments and arbitral awards frequently.