Disciplinary proceedings

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Disciplinary proceedings are a kind of case law that makes sure that people who work in a profession follow the rules of that profession. This kind of law deals with independent professions, for example doctors, civil-law notaries and auditors.

Protecting interests

Disciplinary proceedings are there to protect the interests of people who use the services that the professionals provide. These are services provided by people who work in independent professions, for example doctors, civil-law notaries, bailiffs and auditors.


Honour and dignity

Disciplinary proceedings maintain the ‘honour and dignity’ of the profession. Doctors, nurses and pharmacists have the Medical Disciplinary Tribunal. The football world has the KNVB’s Disciplinary Tribunal. Lawyers have Boards of Discipline.




If you are not satisfied with someone like a doctor or an estate agent, you can submit a complaint to the disciplinary tribunal for that profession. People may complain if they think that the professional did not do the job carefully, took too long to act or did not explain the situation well enough. The disciplinary tribunal (or the disciplinary council) is usually made up of people who work in the relevant profession, as well as someone like a judge or a former judge.




The disciplinary tribunal tries to find out if the professional followed the rules of his or her profession. The disciplinary tribunal’s method is similar to a judge’s method. The tribunal can ask the complainant and the professional to explain the situation, interview witnesses and experts, and investigate evidence. At the end of the procedure, the disciplinary tribunal decides whether or not the complaint is well-founded. The punishments that the disciplinary tribunal gives are binding. This means that the professional must comply with the tribunal’s decision. That decision can be a warning, a fine or a reprimand. The tribunal can also decide that the professional is not allowed to work in that profession anymore, either temporarily or permanently.



No compensation or prison sentence

The disciplinary tribunal cannot award compensation or send someone to prison. After the disciplinary procedure has ended, the complainant can decide to take the case to court. It is often possible to appeal against the disciplinary tribunal’s decision. Some professions have a separate appeals tribunal. For other professions, appeals go to the court or the court of appeal.



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