Review Lunch DIScussions: Commercial Courts in Europe – Alternative to Arbitration?

Newsletter 12/2022 - Review: past events


On 10 November 2022, another event in the Lunch DIScussions series, organised and moderated by Hartmut Hamann (Hamann Rechtsanwälte), analysed the practice of newly established commercial courts in Europe. International Chambers at the Paris Commercial Court and the Paris Court of Appeal were established in 2010 and 2018, followed shortly thereafter by Commercial Courts in the Netherlands and Germany. These English-speaking commercial courts offer an additional forum for resolving disputes to the international business community. They contribute to the strengthening of the local judiciary in their respective country by rendering it more attractive for potential litigants as a venue in the competition among jurisdictionsThe event presented an opportunity to “meet your judge”. The underlying question discussed by the speakers and posed by the audience in the ensuing Q&A was whether and when legal practitioners might consider choosing an (international) commercial court instead of arbitration.

Dr Thomas Klink (Richter am Oberlandesgericht Stuttgart, stellvertretender Vorsitzender des Berufungssenats des Stuttgart Commercial Court) and Laure Aldebert (Membre de la chambre internationale de la Cour d’appel de Paris) presented the structure, jurisdiction, procedure and the efficient case management of their courts. Anna Stier (Omni Bridgeway) shared her very positive impressions of the Netherland Commercial Court, handling the cases with efficiency and competence. Dr Martin Bernet (Bernet Arbitration/Dispute Management) explained the idea behind the project of the creation of Zurich International Commercial Court that should be able to conduct proceedings fully in English. Gustav Flecke-Giammarco (Seven Summits Arbitration) underlined the potential of commercial courts as an alternative to arbitration but stressed that there are many helpful contract drafting suggestions to consider when trying to “fit the forum to the fuss”.

The panelists agreed that commercial courts take a pragmatic approach in resolving the cases brought before them, applying case management techniques similar to those in arbitration. They look for solutions and facilitate settlements. They handle cases fast and at relatively low cost. The panelists unanimously agreed that commercial courts are an alternative to arbitration, not a competitor. They can be especially attractive for medium-sized companies where the confidentiality is not of the highest priority. According to a survey conducted after the panel discussion, 90 % of the participants would consider choosing a commercial court in a case, compared to only 34 % before the panel discussion.

Hartmut Hamann and Gustav Flecke-Giammarco


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