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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.