The decision on the dismantling of the Dutch court system is being postponed in order to avoid any ‘irreversible’ changes.
The judiciary council took the decision on Tuesday at the behest of parliament, the council informed justice minister Ard van der Steur in a written briefing.
The plan is to limit seven of the Netherlands’ 32 courts to very simple cases because of budget cuts.
However, there has been strong criticism of the plan, with the trade union for judges and officers of justice saying there must be ‘a decent consultation period’ before any decision is taken.
The judiciary council said on Tuesday it has decided to leave youth protection cases at the courts in the seven cities faced with cuts.
A final decision on which area of law will no longer be handled by these courts will be taken later in the year, the council said.
‘We are faced with a big challenge,’ council chairman Frits Bakker told broadcaster Nos. ‘We are being asked to make big budget cuts while at the same time modernising the court system and keeping the quality high.’
Protesting judges reacted angrily to the postponement. ‘We had hoped for a new vision from the council,’ Jan Bartstra of Assen court told broadcaster Nos. ‘But that is not the case.’
‘Why leave youth protection with the seven courts but not, for instance, family law?’ he said.
Assen is one of the affected courts along with Almelo, Alkmaar, Lelystad, Dordrecht, Zutphen and Maastricht.
The judges will attend a parliamentary commission hearing on October 8 when they will put their case.
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