Decision on courts cut should be postponed

Decorative Scales of Justice in the CourtroomThe decision on the dismantling of the Dutch court system must be postponed, the association for the judiciary said on Monday.

The trade union for judges and officers of justice says there must be ‘a decent consultation period’ before any decision is taken, the NRC reports.

Last week, the council for the judiciary, which implements justice ministry policy, presented its plan to limit seven of the country’s courts to very simple cases because of budget cuts.

Too fast

It will decide on Tuesday if the plan will go ahead but the association says this is ‘much too fast, particularly considering the consequences for the functioning of the law’.

The council 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.

Last week the president of Noord-Holland district court resigned in protest at the plans, saying they mean defendants and witnesses involved in complex cases will have to travel much further to court.


There have been demonstrations in Alkmaar and Lelystad and on Monday morning 250 staff at Maastricht court downed tools for half an hour in protest. All three courts are affected by the plan, together with Almelo, Assen and Dordrecht.

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.

An evaluation of that reorganisation is due in 2018 and the association for the judiciary says any decision on further cuts to the system must wait until then.

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