Innovating International Business Courts: a European Outlook

Seminar organised by Erasmus School of Law under the ERC project ‘Building EU Civil Justice’ (Erasmus University Rotterdam), the Max Planck Institute for Procedural Law Luxembourg, and the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice (Utrecht University).

Date and time: Tuesday 10 July 2018, 13.30 - 18.45
Location: Room M3-15, Forum room, Van der Goot Building, Woudestein Campus, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, 3062 PA, Rotterdam
Contact person: Erlis Themeli and Alexandre Biard 

  • 13:00 - 13:30Registration
    13:30 - 13:45

    Fabian AmtenbrinkVice dean Erasmus School of Law

    Xandra Kramer, Erasmus University Rotterdam
    Burkhard Hess, Max Planck Institute Luxembourg

     Views from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France
    Chair: Harriët Schelhaas (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    13:45 - 14:15

    The Netherlands: the Netherlands Commercial Court
    Eddy Bauw, Montaigne Centre - Utrecht University

    14:15 - 14:45

    The United Kingdom: A view from the Business and Property Courts in London
    Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court, London

    14:45 - 15:15

    The French approach to international commercial litigation
    Gérard Gardella, Haut Comité juridique de la place financière de Paris (HCJP)

    15:15 - 15:45Discussion
    15:45 - 16:15

    Coffee break


    Views from Germany and Belgium – Panel discussion
    Chair: Diana Wallis (Universities of Hull and Oxford)

    16:15 - 16:45

    Germany: The Frankfurt Initiative on international commercial litigation
    Burkhard Hess, Max Planck Institute Luxembourg

    16:45 - 17:15

    Belgium: The proposal for the Brussels International Business Court
    Philippe Lambrecht, Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB)

    17:15 - 17:45Discussion
    17:45 - 18:45Panel roundtable
    • Duco Oranje, President of the Netherlands Commercial Court of Appeal
    • Sir Nicholas Hamblen, Lord Justice of Appeal, England and Wales
    • Ilse Couwenberg, Court of Appeal Antwerp, Belgium
    • Ulrike WilloughbyDistrict Court of Frankfurt, Germany
    • Ina Frost, District Court of Frankfurt, Germany
    • Jean MessinesiPresident Paris Commercial Court, France
    • Fabienne Schaller, Paris Court of appeal, France
    18:45Drinks at the Erasmus Pavilion

Detailed information

A number of Member States have recently established or are in the process of establishing specialized commercial courts to facilitate international business litigation. These initiatives can have a profound impact on the litigation landscape in Europe as well as the efficiency and effectivity of justice systems. In February 2018, the French Ministry of Justice inaugurated the International Commercial Chamber within the Paris Court of appeal. Few weeks later, the Dutch House of Representatives voted in favour of the Creation of the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC), which is expected to open its doors on 1 July 2018. In parallel, Belgium is discussing the creation of the Brussels International Business Court (BIBC), whereas an initiative has been launched in Germany to strengthen Frankfurt as a go-to-point for commercial litigation in Europe (the Frankfurt Initiative).

While these courts can contribute to an effective and more tailor-made resolution of complex and international business disputes it also creates new challenges for judges, litigants and the civil justice system as a whole. The objective is to discuss these initiatives and in particular the novelties of the court administration and the procedural rules, to exchange views on the possible impact on international commercial and complex litigation, and to reflect on the challenges ahead. The seminar will gather representatives from different Member States, practitioners and academics.

Registration is compulsory. The conference fee is € 100 for practising lawyers requesting permanent educational credits, and € 50 for other attendants; (PhD) students, staff of Erasmus University Rotterdam, Utrecht University and the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg can join for free. Attendants from public institutions or private persons having little resources can request a waiver (please send an email to

Practicing lawyers can request a certificate of attendance and other documents necessary for obtaining educational credits (Dutch attorneys: NOvA opleidingspunten).