Curaçao and St. Maarten Courts will accept the choice of laws

One of the questions frequently asked is whether the Courts in Curaçao or St. Maarten, if an action is brought before them, will pay deference to a “choice of governing law” and/or venue provision in an agreement, in particular when the parties have chosen US Law, and a US Court to resolve their disputes.

The choice of the laws of (a particular State of) the United States of America as the laws governing an agreement is valid and binding under the laws of Curaçao/St. Maarten, and will therefore be recognized by a Curaçao/St. Maarten court, except (i) to the extent that any term of the agreement or any provision of the laws of the (particular State of the) United States of America applicable to the agreement is manifestly incompatible with the public policy (ordre public) of Curaçao/St. Maarten and (ii) that a Curaçao/St. Maarten court may give effect to the mandatory rules of the laws of another jurisdiction with which the situation has a close connection, if and in so far as, under the law of such jurisdiction, those rules must be applied, whatever the chosen law.

Generally, the consent to a foreign jurisdiction (i.e. a foreign court) is valid and binding upon the parties under the laws of Curaçao/St. Maarten, provided, however, that such consent does not preclude that claims for provisional measures may in certain circumstances be brought in preliminary relief (a.k.a. summary) proceedings (kort geding) before the Curaçao or St. Maarten Court in First Instance.

Karel Frielink
Attorney (Lawyer) / Partner

(21 November 2013)

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