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Benefits appeal procedure

This is a print of a page on Rechtspraak.nl. Look for the most up-to-date information on Rechtspraak.nl (http://www.rechtspraak.nl). This page is printed on 01-01-1970.

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If you do not agree with a ruling on a benefit, you can make this known by checking whether the decision can be reviewed.

Has your application for benefits been rejected, your benefits totally or partially withdrawn, or do you have to repay your benefits? Have you lodged an objection with the benefits agency (UWV, SVB, DUO or municipality) and been rejected? If so, you can appeal against it before the District Court.

In the notice of opposition, you can also ask the administrative body to agree to appeal directly to the administrative court.

You may hire a lawyer, but you don’t have to

  • Before starting proceedings, you may wish to seek legal advice on your situation. The ‘Juridisch advies’ (Legal advice) page tells you which organisations offer legal advice.
  • You can engage the help of a lawyer or representative (in Dutch), but this is not compulsory for judicial appeals in administrative matters.
  • Below are the steps you need to follow if you wish to start legal proceedings yourself.

 

 This procedure consists of the following steps:

>Alles uitklappen
  • In order to start the appeal procedure, you must submit an appeal to the District Court. You are the claimant.

    Submit your notice of appeal to the District Court within 6 weeks of your objection being dismissed. The date of the decision made in response to your objection can be found in the letter from the public authority.

    Submit an appeal to the court

    Digital submission

    You can submit your notice of appeal and the documents below to the District Court digitally using an appeal form. You will need a DigiD to do this.

    Please note: the digital appeal form cannot be used by legal entities or representatives of legal entities.

    Businesses in the form of a private limited company (bv) or public limited company (nv), and organisations such as foundations or associations, must submit paper copies of their documents.

    Sole proprietorships, general partnerships (vof) and limited partnerships (cv) can use the digital form. They can log in using their DigiD. 

    Written submission

    You can draw up your own notice of appeal and submit it in writing. You must include the following in your notice of appeal:

    • your name and address;
    • the decision that you are appealing
    • why you disagree with the decision
    • what you think the decision should be

    Add the date and your signature.

    Send it by post or deliver it by hand

    Send the notice of appeal and the documents listed below to the District Court named in the decision on your appeal. You can also drop it off at the central desk of the District Court.

    Documents to be included

    Documents of importance to the court should be sent together with your notice of appeal. In all cases, these include: 

    • the decision on the objection against which you are appealing
    • documents and photographs to support your position, if you have them; and
    • written authorisation, if you are using an authorised representative (in Dutch)

    Additional documents for organisations (company, foundation or association)

    Do you wish to lodge an appeal in the capacity of an organisation? In that case, please include the following: 

    • an excerpt from the commercial register (and if there are parent legal entities, attach the excerpts for these as well). These excerpts must show who, as the ultimately authorised director, has the right (is entitled) to make an appeal. Excerpts must be less than 1 year old.
    • a copy of the articles of association
    • an excerpt pertaining to the holding company (less than 1 year old).

    Rules of procedure

    More information can be found in the Rules of Procedure for District Courts (overheid.nl).

    Informing the parties

    The District Court informs the public authority and any stakeholders that you have commenced an appeal procedure.

  • The public authority is your counterpart (respondent) in this case. The District Court will ask the public authority to write a statement of defence and to send all documents relating to the case.

  • The District Court will send you copies of the documents submitted by the public authority. You may also submit additional documents. Examples of these are a written response to the public authority's statement of defence. Potential stakeholders may also submit documents. 

    See also: Submitting additional documents digitally (in Dutch)

    You can submit new documents no later than 10 days before the hearing. This is to allow the judge and the other party sufficient time to read the documents. If documents are submitted less than 10 days before the hearing, the judge may decide not to admit them if this would be detrimental to the counterparty.

  • The judge will generally deal with your appeal case at a hearing.

    Proceedings without a hearing

    There is no hearing if:

    • the judge considers that the documents are so clear that oral proceedings at a hearing would not add any value AND all parties state that they do not want a hearing. Once the parties have given their consent, the judge will rule on the matter without a hearing. If you do not agree with the judge’s decision, you can appeal to a higher court (see step 6 below).
    • the judge opts for simplified proceedings. For example, this may be because:
      • the Administrative Court is not the correct court to hear a case (the Administrative Court has no jurisdiction [kennelijk onbevoegd]);
      • the documents are so obvious that no further oral proceedings are necessary (this is called ‘manifestly well-founded’ [kennelijk gegrond] or ‘manifestly unfounded’ [kennelijk ongegrond]); or
      • the notice of appeal was filed late (the appeal is manifestly inadmissible [kennelijk niet-ontvankelijk]).

    Do you disagree with the judge’s decision following the simplified proceedings dealing with your case? If so, you can lodge an objection against this ruling. (read more on this below at step 6).

    Proceedings with a hearing

    All parties receive an invitation to a hearing. This states when (date) and where (location) the oral hearing will take place.

    Attendees at the hearing

    You are not obliged to come to the hearing, unless you are summoned. If you do come, you will have the opportunity to present an oral explanation. You can also answer any questions that the judge asks. The same applies to the public authority and any stakeholders.

    Public

    The hearing of an enforcement and sanctions appeal procedure is, in principle, public. This means that anyone can attend the hearing. In certain situations, the judge may decide that the hearing can take place wholly or in part in camera.

    Witnesses and experts

    If you wish to summon a witness (in Dutch) or expert or bring one with you, you must notify the judge and the public authority in writing at least 10 days before the hearing. The judge is not obliged to hear any witnesses or experts that you bring with you.

    Oral proceedings

    The judge presides over the oral proceedings. The judge asks questions and discusses the points of disagreement between the parties. It may be the case that the parties are still able to come to an agreement together. This is only possible if:

    • both parties are open to this
    • the public authority has/is given the freedom to do so from its duties. For example, a municipality may have room to examine a solution jointly. An inspection service that checks for safety, on the other hand, may not.

    Reaching a settlement

    The possibility is still open for both parties to reach an agreement together at the hearing. The settlement is a binding agreement. This means that the parties must honour the agreements.

    Out-of-court mediation

    This means that the parties try to reach an out-of-court resolution with the help of an external mediator.

    Legal proceedings focus on the legal aspects of a conflict. Out-of-court mediation means that you and the other party/parties seek a solution to all aspects of the dispute. Therefore, the judge will see if your case lends itself to mediation. You also have the option of indicating that you wish to follow the mediation route.

    The judge’s ruling

    Has it proven difficult to come to a solution? Or is it impossible? The parties will then be able to further explain their positions and answer questions that the judge asks.

    Interim ruling

    The judge can make an interim ruling when a defect is discovered. For example, that the decision was made carelessly. The public authority will then be given the opportunity to redress this defect within a set period. The judge will then assess whether the amendments set out by the interim ruling have been following, and makes a proposition.

  • The judge may give an oral or written ruling:

    • orally – at the end of the hearing
    • in writing, by post – within 6 weeks of the hearing. If the judge needs more time, they will let you know in due time.
    • in writing, if the parties have waived the right to an oral hearing.

    The ruling will be sent to you. If you have engaged the services of a lawyer or authorised representative, the ruling will be sent to them. There are different types of ruling that the judge can make:

    Well-founded

    The judge rules in your favour and declares the appeal well-founded. The judge may: 

    • direct the public authority review the appeal according to the judge's instructions, and then make a new decision. If you disagree with this new decision, you can lodge a new objection and then if necessary, an appeal;
    • determine that the judge's ruling supersedes the decision. This means that there may be new legal consequences;
    • determine that the decision is not upheld (is annulled), but that its legal effects can be maintained. The reasons are given in the ruling.

    See also: Public authority damages (in Dutch)

    Unfounded

    The judge rules against you. The decision of the public authority remains the same.

    Disagreeing with a court ruling

    Do you disagree with the administrative court's decision? You can appeal to a higher court.

  • Opposition - ruling after simplified proceedings

    Do you disagree with the judge's ruling following the simplified proceedings dealing with your case? If so, you can lodge an objection against this ruling. You do this by sending a letter to the District Court, referred to as the notice of objection [verzetschrift]. You must do this within six weeks. If the District Court rules in favour of your notice of objection, another hearing will take place.

    Appealing to a higher court

    Do you disagree with the judge's ruling? You can make an immediate appeal against this at the Central Council of Appeal (in Dutch). This must be done within six weeks of the judge's ruling. If the term is shorter than 6 weeks, this will be stated in the ruling that you are appealing. The public authority can also appeal to a higher court.

Are you in acute financial difficulty due to the benefits agency’s decision, or are you facing another untenable situation? If so, you can ask the judge to grant interim relief.

Costs

You pay a fee for the court to hear your case: this is known as griffierechten (court fees). There may be additional costs associated with a court case, such as lawyer’s fees.

Processing time

The benefits appeal procedure takes at least 3 months. If the case goes to appeal, this can take more than 1 year.




Q&A

When can I start a benefits case?

If you are not in agreement with the ruling of the benefits agency and your objection to this has been rejected, you can go before the court. In the notice of opposition, you can also ask the public authority to agree to appeal directly to the administrative court.

My benefits have been discontinued, will this expire if I file a lawsuit?

No. However, if this puts you in acute difficulty, you can ask the judge hearing the application for interim relief to grant an injunction. This can also be carried out even during your objection procedure with the benefit agency.

How long does a procedure for a cash benefit case last?

The benefits appeal procedure takes at least 3 months. If the case goes to appeal, this can take more than 1 year.

Legal advice

Would you like personal advice on your situation? Do you need assistance with drafting documents or during the hearing? You have the option at all times to engage the services of a lawyer or other legal advisor. A lawyer is not required for every case.


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