Administrative proceedings

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If you have damage as a result of a so-called unlawful decision by the government (administrative body), you can start proceedings before the administrative court, the civil court or the district court. These proceedings are a way for you to apply for compensation from a public authority, such as a municipality, province or water authority.
Depending on the procedure, it may or may not be mandatory to engage a lawyer.

Administrative proceedings

If you have suffered damage as a result of an unlawful decision made by a public authority, you must first request compensation from the public authority itself. If the public authority rejects this or does not respond to you within 8 weeks, you can apply to a court for compensation.

You can start these proceedings both during and after any appeal proceedings you bring against the decision that caused the damage.

Are you looking for a quick, provisional decision because you urgently need an advance on the compensation? If so, you can ask the judge to grant interim relief.

 This procedure consists of the following steps

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  • Submitting an application

    You can prepare your own application for compensation and submit it in writing. You must include the following in your application:

    • your name and address;
    • the date;
    • why you think you are entitled to compensation as a result of the decision (the cause);
    • the amount of compensation you are applying for.

    Date and sign your application. You can then send your application to the district court or file it at the main desk of the district court.

    Which district court?

    Documents to be sent:

    Documents of importance to the court should be sent together with your application. Important documents include:

    • a copy of the damaging decision made by the public authority; or
    • the decision of the court dealing with your appeal against the decision that caused the damage;
    • a calculation of the damages that you have suffered;
    • any documents and photographs that support your position.

    Informing the parties

    The district court informs the public authority and any interested parties that you have started proceedings.

  • The public authority is the opposing party (defendant) in this case. The district court will ask the public authority to write a statement of defence and to submit 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 or an expert report. Any interested parties may also submit documents.

    See also:

    You can submit new documents no later than 10 days before the hearing.This is to allow the judge and the other party(-ies) sufficient time to read the documents.

  • Your case will normally be handled during a hearing. There is no hearing if:

    • the judge considers that the documents are so clear that a hearing is not necessary AND all parties state that they do not want a hearing;
    • the judge opts for simplified proceedings to handle your claim for compensation.

    Simplified proceedings

    The court may decide to settle the compensation appeal proceedings without a hearing. For example, because the administrative court is manifestly without jurisdiction, the documents are clear (manifestly well-founded or unfounded) or the notice of appeal was filed late (manifestly inadmissible).

    Notice to attend a hearing

    All parties receive a notice to attend the hearing. This notice to attend states when (date) and where (location) the hearing will take place. The hearing often takes place within 3 months after you have filed your notice of appeal.

    Attending the hearing

    You are not obliged to attend the hearing. If you do attend, you will have the opportunity to explain in your own words your application for compensation. You can also respond to any questions that the judge asks. The same applies to the public authority and any interested parties.

    Public access to hearings

    Hearings that deal with appeal proceedings for compensation against a public body are, in principle, public. This means that anyone may attend the hearing. In certain situations, the judge may decide that the hearing is to take place entirely or partly in camera (in private).


    If you wish to summon a witness or bring one with you, you must notify the judge and the public authority in writing at least 10 days before the hearing.

    Out-of-court mediation

    Legal proceedings for compensation focus on the legal aspects of a dispute. Mediation means that you and the other party(-ies) seek a solution to all aspects of the dispute. The judge will therefore assess whether your case lends itself to mediation. You also have the option of indicating that you wish to follow the mediation route.

  • The judge issues a decision within 6 weeks following the hearing. If the judge needs more time, they will let you know in good time. The decision will be sent to you at your home address. If you have engaged the services of a lawyer, the decision will be sent to them.

    There are different types of decision that the judge can make:


    The judge rules in your favour and declares the application well-founded. You are usually awarded compensation, either in full or partially. If the claim is only well-founded in relation to formal aspects of the decision-making process, the substantive decision (no compensation) may remain unchanged.


    The judge rules against you. You are not awarded compensation.

    If you do not agree

    Judge's decision

    Do you disagree with the judge's decision? Then you can appeal with the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State.

    Decision following simplified proceedings

    Do you disagree with the judge's decision following simplified proceedings dealing with your case? If so, you can file an objection against this decision. You do this by sending a letter to the district court, referred to as the notice of objection (verzetschrift). You must do this within 6 weeks. If the district court rules in favour of your notice of objection, then your appeal will be heard during a hearing.

  • Do you disagree with the judge’s decision? Then you can appeal against it. Which court hears the appeal depends on the type of case.

Costs of administrative proceedings

There are costs associated with the appeal procedure for compensation from the government. You must pay costs for the court to hear your case: these are known as griffierechten (court fees). You also have to pay for a lawyer or mediator if you engage their services.

Processing time for administrative proceedings

The appeal procedure for compensation from the government takes at least 3 months and can take up to 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.

Contact the Rechtspraak Service Centre

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