On 1 January 2016 the Rotterdam Court started a pilot allowing legal proceedings to, in certain circumstances, be conducted in English. The pilot will last until 1 July 2017, and is used to determine if there is a need for this possibility. Since October 2015, the Rotterdam Court has already been publishing English summaries of its decisions in maritime matters.
Fields of law
Parties can choose to litigate in English if it involves a procedure in the field of:
- maritime and transport law; or
- international commercial purchases.
The pilot is only applicable to cases submitted between 1 January 2016 and 1 July 2017. Pending cases will proceed in Dutch. If a party lodges an appeal against a court decision in proceedings that have been conducted in English, such appeal will have to be conducted in Dutch. Both appeal and cassation can only be conducted in Dutch. The Court of Appeal in the Hague, as well as the Supreme Court have committed to observe English case files in appeal or cassation. However, they may ask the parties to submit a Dutch translation of (some of) the English court documents.
Requirements of the request
Parties need to agree in writing to litigate in English. The plaintiff’s attorney has to add this agreement to his request to litigate in English to the Court. In case more than two parties are involved in the proceedings, they all have to agree to litigate in English.
Part of the proceedings in Dutch
Proceedings cannot be conducted completely in English. The claims, for instance, have to be filed both in Dutch and English. Also court decisions are in Dutch, just like in regular proceedings.