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COVID-19: NCC is open for business, but restrictions apply

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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Amsterdam, 25 March 2020

[Updated 31 August 2020]

The Dutch Government has ordered measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As a result, access to the courthouses, including the Palace of Justice where the NCC District Court and NCC Court of Appeal are located, was restricted from March through mid-May. However, effective 1 June 2020, the NCC courthouse will be accessible to lawyers and parties if the court orders a courtroom hearing. However, some restrictions will still apply, such as a maximum number of attendees. The press and members of the public need to register in order to attend a videoconference or courtroom hearing courthouse. In the courthouse special precautions have been taken to minimise COVID-19 risks.

General guidance

To limit the impact of the current circumstances, the following general guidance will apply until further notice, subject to the court's directions on a case-by-case basis:

  • As of 1 June 2020, hearings will generally be held in the courthouse, unless the judge decides otherwise;
  • Wherever possible and appropriate, hearings may be held electronically, using conference call or videoconferencing equipment;
  • It is possible, as always, to initiate a new case in eNCC (the electronic portal), and to submit documents and exhibits;
  • NCC staff is available to provide further guidance and answer any questions you may have. 

Courtroom hearings

  • Important notice for lawyers: water is not available in the courtrooms and robes are not available for lawyers' use at this time
  • Members of the press and members of the public are welcome to attend NCC courtroom hearings. NCC hearings may be in a courtroom or on Skype for Business. Registration is required for both types of hearings.
  • Lawyers and parties need not register

 

  • Registration: 
    • To register, send us an email at ncc@rechtspraak.nl
    • Registration starts 7 calendar days before the hearing and closes 2 business days before the hearing
    • In your registration email, tell us who would like to attend which hearing
    • Available seats will be allocated in the order of registration, except where it concerns members of the press who have priority in seat allocation
    • The number of available seats may depend on the courtroom
    • Do not come to the courthouse unless you have received a confirmation email. You must show an electronic or printed copy of the confirmation email
    • Remember to bring your identification document

  • For your safety and the safety of others, please observe the following rules:
    • Do not come to the courthouse more than 15 minutes before the hearing
    • If you have flu-like symptoms, or if anyone in your household has such symptoms, DO NOT COME TO THE COURTHOUSE. Call the registry to notify the court
    • Social distancing: 1.5 m
    • Wash your hands regularly
    • Cough and sneeze in your elbow
    • Use paper tissues
    • Follow all directions from security and other courthouse officials

Videoconference hearings

Ordinary courtroom rules apply, but there are some particular rules:

  • All participants switch off their microphones when not speaking.
  • All mobile phones are on silent mode during the hearing; if lawyers wish to confer with co-counsel or a client, they can do so by instant messaging, or by requesting a short break.
  • Anyone from the public wishing to attend must register (see above) to obtain a login link. All participants must be on screen (webcam on). The microphone is switched off.
  • Anyone not in compliance with the rules is removed from the videoconference.

See our manual (pdf, 51.8 KB) instructions on how to log in to the hearing (pdf, 50.6 KB).
 

Videconference instructions

Prior to any videoconference hearing the parties will receive specific instructions along the lines of our format below: 

  1. Approximately 60/30 minutes before the hearing the clerk will perform a test. Please log into the session and switch on video and audio. See our manual (pdf, 51.8 KB).
    The use of personal devices, such as laptops, mobile phones or tablets, is recommended. Using other VC-equipment may result in connection problems or in the judge not being able to see the lawyers/parties properly due to the large distance from the camera.
  2. If the videoconference does not work smoothly, the hearing may be by conference call.
  3. Please stay connected (with audio and video off) or access the Skype session again 10 minutes before the hearing, so we can start on time.
  4. If the lawyers wish to submit written notes for the case file, the notes should be uploaded to eNCC at least 2/24/48 hours before the hearing. The notes will then be a part of the case file. The lawyers are requested to limit their initial remarks (“pleadings”) during the Skype session to a summary of their notes.
  5. The deadline for submitting exhibits is [@@]
  6. The judge, clerk and lawyers will not wear a robe, as the hearing is held outside a courthouse.
  7. All participants are required to switch on video and keep audio muted if not speaking.
  8. Mobile phones are allowed, but must be in silent mode. Private consultation with clients or opposing counsel can be done by instant messaging or by asking the court for a short break. Please do not disconnect, but only switch off video and audio. If you need more time, send a chat message in the Skype session.
  9. Avoid interrupting the judge or opposing counsel. To raise an urgent point, raise your hand or send a chat message in the Skype session.
  10. It is not allowed to make a screenshot, photo or any audio or video recording of the hearing.
  11. There may be members of the press or the public joining the videoconference session. They will be requested to switch on their webcam. Non-compliance with this rule, or any further instructions, will result in removal from the session.

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