Over the past years, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg — together forming the Benelux — have proven to be key jurisdictions for the enforcement of international arbitral awards.
The Benelux countries host numerous holding companies, banks and financial institutions, and are home to many assets belonging to foreign states and sovereign wealth funds. All three jurisdictions have creditor-friendly rules on the attachment of assets, and a longstanding tradition of upholding and enforcing foreign arbitral awards, including many high-value awards in investor-state arbitrations. In view thereof, it is not surprising that the Benelux is at the forefront of many worldwide enforcement strategies.
In this contribution, members of NautaDutilh’s Benelux Arbitration Team provide an overview of the key aspects of the enforcement of arbitral awards in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Building on this regulatory framework, we discuss practical pitfalls, including the enforcement of arbitral awards against foreign states. With this article, parties seeking enforcement will gain insight into how multi-jurisdictional enforcement actions in the Benelux can best be organised.
II. THE ENFORCEMENT OF ARBITRAL AWARDS IN BELGIUM
A. Arbitration in Belgium: An Overview
Over the past few years, Belgium has taken steps to position itself as a modern and attractive forum for (international) arbitration, emphasizing its central location in Europe and linguistic diversity.