A dispute does not always have to be settled by a public court in lengthy proceedings. It makes sense to consider whether an alternative is possible and preferable. Arbitration has long been used as an alternative and in particular a satisfactory form of dispute resolution. Arbitration clauses can be found in almost every type of contract. Arbitration particularly provides added value in those cases where one wishes to organise the process oneself. Arbitrators with special expertise or who work or have worked in a particular industry can be chosen, so that the dispute can be settled by persons with specific knowledge of that industry or of the subject matter.
Ploum’s Dispute Resolution team has the required expertise to advise you about the possibilities of arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. We can assist with drafting and negotiating arbitration agreements and arbitration clauses. Should you become involved in arbitration proceedings, you can depend on our expertise as your counsel. And if you have obtained a foreign arbitral award, we can help you obtain leave for enforcement in the Netherlands.
Besides extensive experience as counsel in national and international arbitration proceedings, we also act as arbitrator in various types of legal conflicts. We also act as a secretary to the panel and publish on a regular basis on arbitration law.
You can opt for arbitration if you want to have a say in the expertise of the people who decide on your case. Arbitration can also be a good option if an issue needs to remain confidential. Especially in international matters, arbitration can be an efficient and safe method of litigation. The proceedings are administered through an arbitration institute and the rules are often adaptable to the wishes of the parties. An important advantage is that an arbitral award can be enforced in most countries.
Sometimes there is no choice: arbitration may be designated in a contract as the method of dispute resolution. Arbitration clauses appear in almost every type of contract imaginable. In the construction industry, for instance, arbitration is a completely established concept, thanks in part to arbitration institutes such as the Arbitration Board for the Building Industry (Raad van Arbitrage in Bouwgeschillen). Arbitration is also widely used as a form of dispute resolution in the commodity trade industry with its own arbitration institutes such as NOFOTA (Netherlands Oils, Fats and Oilseeds Trade Association) and The Royal Dutch Grain and Feed Trade Association (Koninklijke vereniging Het Comité van Graanhandelaren). For resolving ICT disputes, there is also a specific arbitration institute, the Foundation for the Settlement of Automation Disputes (Geschillenoplossing Organisatie & Automatisering (SGOA)).
Sometimes other interests play a role than the issues at stake in proceedings, or a dispute revolves around a single point of principle, for example. A mediator or a binding advisor can help uncover the interests at play in the background. Following the advice of this independent third party, the parties can then resume talks on an amicable settlement. In this way, a case can sometimes be resolved quickly and economically.
In disputes with an international character, the arbitration procedure can be set up in such a way that foreign parties also feel comfortable with it, for example by adapting the rules for obtaining relevant documentation and providing evidence to international practices. Furthermore, in an international setting, it is important that an arbitral award - unlike an award by a public court - can be executed and enforced in a large number of countries (i.e. the countries party to the 1958 New York Convention).
Major advantages of arbitration compared to litigation through the public courts are the confidentiality of the proceedings as well as the efficiency and speed with which cases are settled. Ploum's specialists are happy to advise you on the possibilities of avoiding lengthy proceedings before the public court and making optimal use of alternative dispute resolution. We have extensive experience in this, both in the field of commercial disputes and in construction law, insurance law and corporate law.
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