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What is arbitration?

Arbitration is the administration of justice by arbitrators. The Netherlands Arbitration Institute offers fast, effective arbitral proceedings. Average NAI arbitration takes approximately nine months from request to final award. Awards are binding on all parties. Arbitration replaces proceedings before the court.

Arbitration agreement

 An arbitration agreement is required if one is to submit a dispute to arbitrators for settlement. This arbitration agreement may be included in an arbitration clause of a contract. In that clause, the parties agree to submit any future disputes to arbitration. The Netherlands Arbitration Institute has created a recommended clause for this purpose. Its wording has proven in practice to cause the least amount of difficulties. If a dispute arises and the parties have not yet arranged for arbitration, they may do so as yet. The arbitration agreement is then laid down in a submission agreement.

As an independent foundation, the NAI administers arbitration for the parties. The NAI may only perform this task if the arbitration agreement refers to the NAI Arbitration Rules.


 The key advantages resulting from inclusion of the NAI arbitration clause in an agreement are as follows:

  • Arbitration has already been agreed before any dispute has arisen.
  • Arbitration is conducted in a way that is clear and acceptable to all parties.
  • The parties may make arrangements among themselves regarding the language of the arbitration, the number of arbitrators, the manner in which arbitrators will be appointed, and the time-limits involved.
  • The clause can be included in both national and international agreements.
  • Arbitration is conducted by expert, fully impartial and independent arbitrators.
  • The administration of arbitration is handled by a solid and professional institute with over 65 years of experience.
  • The institute is impartial, independent and non-profit.
  • Arbitration is conducted on a confidential basis and is not public.
  • All arbitration is customised. The parties are given ample time to present their points of view, also at a hearing.
  • An award is often made more quickly than in proceedings before the court.
  • From an international perspective, an arbitral award is easier to enforce than a court judgment.
  • Parties often go on doing business with each other even while arbitration is taking place.

Administration / NAI’s role

 The most important task of the Netherlands Arbitration Institute is to administer arbitration. The NAI monitors the arbitral proceedings from the moment that proceedings are commenced until the arbitral award is made and sent to the parties. The NAI’s lawyers specialise in the fields of national and international arbitration law. Independence and confidentiality are important factors. For example, the NAI, as an independent administering body, would never discuss the content of a case. NAI awards are not made available to third parties for inspection, nor does the NAI provide third parties with information on pending or formerly pending arbitration. A number of awards are published anonymously in the Tijdschrift voor Arbitrage arbitration journal, provided that the parties do not object. The NAI is a non-profit foundation.


 Since all proceedings are customised, it is not possible to provide a detailed cost estimate in advance. A more detailed description can be found under Arbitration - Costs.















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