Court president resigns over cuts, reorganisation

Decorative Scales of Justice in the CourtroomThe president of Noord-Holland district court has resigned in protest at plans to limit seven of the country’s courts to very simple cases.

Evert van der Molen says the plan means defendants and witnesses involved in complex cases will have to travel much further to court.

The Netherlands is currently divided into 11 districts with courts operating in 32 different locations . Now seven of these 32 will be reduced to simple civil and family law cases because of budget cuts.

The Council for the Judiciary, which implements justice ministry policy says the change will reduce pressure on judges and boost efficiency. In addition, preparatory hearings for civil and corporate law cases can take place via internet from next year, the council says.

That automation project will also cut the number of jobs by around 950 out of 10,000, the NRC said on Monday.

Two years ago the Dutch court system also went through a reorganisation. Then the number of legal districts was cut from 19 to 11 and 23 actual courts were closed down.

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