1.3.1 The Netherlands has positive experiences with arbitration. The leading arbitral institute is the NAI. In addition, there are permanent arbitration boards, for example De Raad van Arbitrage voor de Bouwbedrijven (construction) and numerous other trade-specific arbitration panels. Arbitration has even made some inroads into sport-related disputes, and the Royal Dutch Football Association arbitration board is well established. Arbitration is also widely used in IT, telecom and internet cases. ICT-Office (a Dutch trade association for 550 IT, telecom, internet and office companies) recommends that its members use general terms and conditions containing an arbitration clause based on the rules of Stichting Geschillenoplossing Automatisering. Finally, in 2000, the Dutch Centre of the ENDR, a network supported by the European Union for European arbitration, was founded.
1.3.2 While not as popular as institutional arbitration in the Netherlands, ad hoc arbitration is also available and the Netherlands Arbitration Act contains fallback provisions that may assist in conducting ad hoc arbitrations.
1.3.3 The often-cited advantages of arbitration over court proceedings, such as confidentiality, trade expertise of arbitrators, flexibility and expediency, apply with equal force to arbitration in the Netherlands.
1.3.4 Traditionally, the cost of arbitral proceedings in the Netherlands has not varied significantly from court proceedings. Costs may increase if the award is challenged in the courts, though the Netherlands Arbitration Act has curtailed the grounds for challenge.
1.3.5 In addition to arbitration, there are binding ruling procedures in the Netherlands. A binding ruling (bindend advies) by an independent third party resembles arbitration, but there is one essential difference. A binding ruling can only be set aside and declared non-binding if it is in serious conflict with reasonableness and fairness and if it would be an abuse of law if the opposite party, on the basis of the binding ruling, should wish to hold the other party to it. In other words; the binding ruling is subject to limited review on the ground that the ruling is in serious conflict with reasonableness and fairness (marginale toetsing). Another difference between the binding ruling procedures and arbitration relates to the enforceability of the award/ruling. A binding ruling has the characteristics of an agreement and is deemed to have the force of an agreement. An arbitration award may be enforced simply on the basis of an enforcement order. In the case of a binding ruling, the ruling must be brought before the District Court to request enforcement.