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Organisation of the Council

The Council is the coordinating administrative body for the Judiciary, which in turn consists of the eleven district courts, the four courts of appeal, the Central Board of Appeal and the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal. The Council promotes the quality and unity of the Judiciary, manages and controls the budget, acts as a regulatory and supervisory authority and supports the management of the courts.



Why a Council for the Judiciary?

Before the Council for the Judiciary was founded in 2002, the Dutch district courts did not have their own management. Although they had the power to adjudicate, they had no say in the way they used resources to exercise this power – this was subject to the authority of the then Minister of Justice.

In 1998, the Leemhuis Committee published a series of recommendations on how the Judiciary should be modernised. One of the Committee’s key recommendations was that the Judiciary should assume responsibility for its own management and that each court should therefore have its own board. The Committee found that the Judiciary as a whole required a board as well, which was to become the Council for the Judiciary.

The Council comprises four board members and a secretary. In managing the Judiciary, the Council is supported by the Council’s Bureau.



Special status

While the Council for the Judiciary forms part of the Judiciary, it does not administer justice itself. The Council does not fall under the responsibility of the Minister of Justice or any other government body. This special position can be derived from the principle that the Judiciary must be impartial and independent, which applies both to the Council and to the Judiciary as a whole. The special status of the Council is enshrined in the Judicial Organisation Act.



Partner in politics and the courts system

The Council for the Judiciary directly consults with the Minister of Security and Justice and his civil servants. In addition, the Council also regularly liaises with all courts at a variety of levels. Together with the court boards, the Council for the Judiciary makes separate agreements regarding issues relevant to that particular court, and also consults with the Assembly of court Presidents concerning issues that affect all courts in the Netherlands. This meeting is attended by the presidents of the district courts, the courts of appeal, the Central Board of Appeal and the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal.

The President and Attorney General of the Netherlands Supreme Court are also permanent members of this Assembly, as is the chairman of the Administrative Law Division of the Council of State. They enjoy a special status: although the Supreme Court and the Administrative Law Division of the Council of State employ judges, they do not form part of the Judiciary as governed by the Council. Within the Judiciary, the Council also consults with the Central Works Council and the Board of Representatives: a board comprised of representatives of all courts that is qualified to provide advice to the Council (both on request and on an unsolicited basis). In addition, regular meetings are scheduled with the trade unions.

Other key partners of the Council for the Judiciary include the Public Prosecution Service, the Netherlands Bar Association and the Dutch Association for the Judiciary, the professional association of judges and public prosecutors.