Judicial system Netherlands

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Information in English

If you have migrated to the Netherlands from another EU country or if you are working or studying in the Netherlands temporarily, you may come in contact with the Dutch judicial system. On this page you will find an overview of the information about the Dutch judicial system and legal proceedings in English.

Read about:

Justice makes living together possible


How to go to court in the Netherlands

EU citizens living in the Netherlands

Find general information about common judicial topics for EU citizens living in the Netherlands and the way to start the legal proceedings. 

Dutch legal proceedings

International business

The Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC) is a specialised court designed to meet the growing need for efficient dispute resolution of civil or commercial matters with an international aspect. Based in Amsterdam, the NCC operates under Dutch procedural law, which is highly regarded for its pragmatism and efficiency, while the working language of the NCC is English.



Background information

International cooperation

The judiciary finds itself in a rapidly internationalised legal order, both within the European Union and outside it. This demands a wide cross-border perspective with regard to judicial cooperation and international relations.

The Dutch judicial system

The Netherlands is divided into 11 districts, each with its own court. Each district court is made up of a maximum of 5 sectors, which always include the administrative law, civil law, criminal law and sub-district law sector.

The Council for the Judiciary

The Council for the Judiciary (Raad voor de rechtspraak) is part of the judiciary system, but does not administer justice itself. It has taken over responsibility over a number of tasks from the Minister of Justice.


Innovation within the judiciary

Innovation is a means of improving and (continually) adapting the Judiciary to the changing needs of society or of the organisation itself for the benefit of society. Through innovative projects, the Judiciary aims to meet the needs of those seeking justice as effectively as possible in a broader social context. This can be done, for example, by having the judge focus in more detail on underlying issues or by increasing accessibility to justice. The Judiciary experiments with projects that can be divided into roughly four movements, each of which seeks to contribute to more socially effective justice in its own way.
In this flyer, we present several examples of these initiatives.