Administrative High Court

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The Administrative High Court

Since 1903, the Dutch Administrative High Court has been the court of appeal for a part of the administrative disputes and adjudicates cases governed by the General Administrative Law Act (Algemene wet bestuursrecht). Specifically issues involving social security, social assistance and civil-servants law. This High Court is also the court of first and sole instance for enforcement disputes ensuing from victims of war and persecution legislation.

Court judgments on social security and public servants law issues can thus be appealed before the Administrative High Court.

The Administrative High Court’s executive board consists of a president (chairman), a judge as member and a director of operations. The board is responsible for overall policy and the management of the organization as a whole.
The High Court is organized into a division, a Management Office, a Board Support Office and a Research Office.

The Administrative High Court division contains Chambers that hear disputes on decrees adopted by virtue of legislation covering:

  • sickness and maternity benefits;
  • invalidity benefits;
  • old-age benefits;
  • survivor’s benefits;
  • death grants;
  • unemployment benefits;
  • family benefits;
  • social assistance;
  • civil servants;
  • benefits for victims of war.

The division is chaired by a division chairman. The division is staffed by officers of the court (Justices and judge’s assistants) and court support staff i.e. legal and administrative personnel.

The High Court has three support offices:

  • Management Office
  • Board Support Office
  • Research Office

The Management Office and the Board Support Office support the board and the organization. The director of operations, who has a seat on the Executive Board, is responsible for both Offices.

The Research Office comprises a Research department and a Library, Information and Documentation department. Research Office staff do research for and provide support to internal High Court commissions such as the Administrative Law and Procedural Administrative Law commission. These commissions advise on general subjects affecting the High Court overall. Duties of the Library, Information and Documentation department staff include maintaining and managing a database of key rulings of the High Court. This department is also responsible for publishing these rulings on and for internal documentation distribution.

Court hearings

Most cases are heard in public. At a hearing, parties may express their views and the Administrative High Court may put questions directly to the parties. Cases are heard by a chamber of three judges or by a single judge.

Provisional relief

Applications for provisional relief and injunctions may be submitted to the President of the Administrative High Court. In general, the decision taken in such proceedings lapses once judgment is given on the merits. Provisional relief allows the President to make special arrangements, for example to prevent a decision by an administrative authority (central, provincial or local government) from having irreversible consequences.


Judicial review

The Administrative High Court reviews the decision of the District Court appealed against. The key question in the proceedings is whether the decision of the administrative body concerned is compatible with the law and with the principles of good administration, in both formal and substantive terms.

The formal principles of good administration involve such questions as:

  • Has the decision been prepared with care and based on the necessary information?
  • Was the decision based on proper reasons?

The substantive principles of good administration involve such questions as:

  • Did the authority strike a fair balance between the interests involved?
  • Are the interests of the individual harmed proportionately?
  • Did the authority use its power for a purpose different from the one envisaged by the legislature when conferring it?
  • Are legal certainty and equal treatment guaranteed for the individual?



The Administrative High Court judgment may take one of the following forms:

  • It may declare the appeal well-founded and quash all or part of the district court's decision and quash all or part of the administrative decision, in which case the administrative authority will have to give a new decision, unless the judgment replaces the administrative decision.
  • It may declare the appeal unfounded: the district court's decision is upheld
  • It may declare the appeal inadmissible. In this case the High Court cannot rule on the merits because certain conditions have not been met: for instance, the notice of appeal was not submitted within the set time, or the court fees were paid too late.
  • It may find that it has no jurisdiction, for instance because the claim must be heard by a different court.

A judgment given by the Administrative High Court is in most cases final. Only in very special cases appeal to the Supreme Court (Hoge Raad) is possible.

The full text of almost all judgments is published on this website of the Court (

The Administrative High Court is not the only supreme administrative jurisdiction in the Netherlands. The Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State in The Hague is the highest court in the sphere of town and county planning, environment, general appeals and aliens appeals. In the area of socio-economic administrative law, the highest court is the Administrative Court for Trade and Industry.

The Administrative High Court is situated in Utrecht (The Netherlands) and hears some 7,000 cases annually.

If you would like to visit the Administrative High Court not related to a case, you can make an appointment with the Department of Information and Communication, phonenumber: 003188 3611 730.

Vrouwe Justitiaplein 1
3511 EX Utrecht
The Netherlands

Correspondence can be sent to:
The Administrative High Court
Postbus 16002
3500 DA Utrecht
The Netherlands

General phonenumber: +31(0)88 3621 111

Website: Centrale Raad van Beroep  

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