International cooperation

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International Cooperation

The Dutch Judiciary wants to contribute to strengthening the judiciary in the Netherlands and abroad. The Judiciary does this by further expanding cooperation in those countries where the judiciary is under pressure, but also by coordinating efforts in European networks. In addition, Dutch legal experts support judicial organizations under pressure through a strategically appointed position. Through this international cooperation, the Dutch Judiciary can also learn from abroad and, when necessary, formulate a national policy to protect and strengthen the Dutch judiciary.

In international cooperation, the Judiciary focuses on two themes: the rule of law and quality.

Rule of law

In addition to democracy and fundamental rights, the rule of law is one of the fundamental values on which the European Union has been established, and one aspect of the rule of law is an independent judiciary. The shared values have been developed and laid down in laws and regulations which the European Member States have been sharing with one another for more than 60 years. The preservation and protection of the rule of law is a responsibility of both the judiciary branch and the legislative and executive branches of government.


An effective and reliable judiciary is essential to public confidence and trust in the Judiciary, and if the independent position of the judiciary is being compromised, this is bound to affect quality levels as well. It is therefore the responsibility of the Judiciary to improve the quality of the judiciary on an ongoing basis. Specifically, the Council for the Judiciary, in accordance with Section 94 of the Judicial Organisation Act (Wet op de Rechterlijke organisatie) is tasked with supporting activities of the courts designed to ensure a consistent application of the law and the promotion of the quality of the legal system. Supporting the quality improvement of international courts and judicial organisations and learning from these organisations is a fundamental part of international cooperation.

In November 2021, the Council for the Judiciary organised a theme week on remote hearings where experts from different countries shared their experiences. View the sessions:

The following three instruments are used in advancing the rule of law and quality of judiciary:
  • Bilateral cooperation
  • European networks
  • The deployment of experts in international projects

Find more information on the instruments below.


Instruments of International Cooperation

  1. Bilateral Cooperation
    Internationally oriented employees can participate in bilateral and multilateral projects. Examples of bilateral projects are the Probation and alternative sanctions project in Ukraine and the Strengthening the probation and the system of alternative sanctions project in Montenegro en Serbia. An example of a long-term bilateral project is the cooperation with the Surinamese Judiciary. This cooperation started in 2008. The project focusses on business management and the training of judges and legal personnel. An example of a multilateral project is the cooperation since 2015 with the Bosnian Judiciary. The project is focussed on themes such as organizational development and communication. Bilateral cooperation projects can also take place through Twinning projects of the EU.

  2. European Networks
    The European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) is the first international institution relevant to the Dutch Judiciary, uniting, as it does, the national judiciaries of the EU Member States which are independent of the executive and legislative branches of government. These judiciary organisations are responsible for supporting the Judiciary in issuing impartial legal rulings. The Dutch Council for the Judiciary is one of the founders of the ENCJ, whose objective is to improve cooperation and mutual understanding between the Councils for the Judiciary and the members of the Judiciary in the EU Member States and candidate countries.

    Within the ENCJ, cooperation takes place on numerous subjects between judicial organizations. There are projects to strengthen the independence of the judiciary, improve accountability, increase public confidence, deepen relations with the media and promote quality and innovation. In addition, the ENCJ has played a critical role in monitoring rule of law developments in Poland, Hungary and Turkey in recent years. The ENCJ monitors these developments by making working visits, publishing positon papers on the situation and ultimately taking a position on behalf of its members. The ENCJ shares its findings with, among others, the European Commission and the European Parliament.

    Other Networks
    In addition to the ENCJ, many other networks exist at European and international level in the areas of the rule of law, the judiciary and specific jurisdictions. These networks play an important role in identifying and monitoring relevant developments within and advocacy of the judiciary. In addition, employees participate in these networks to exchange knowledge and expertise.

    Networks concerned with the rule of law and the judiciary are:

  3. The deployment of experts in international projects
    Deployment of experts in civilian missions takes place through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
    The missions monitor, among other things, the strengthening of the rule of law. Dutch judges are currently active in the IMO missie in Albania and in the EUAM missie in Ukraine. In addition, employees of the Judiciary are employed by international organizations, courts and tribunals. For example, judges are working at the Kosovo Special Court in The Hague. Furthermore, the Judiciary cooperates in recruiting suitable candidates for similar positions, for example, with the National Coordinator for International Functions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Finally, employees can participate in various foreign educational activities. Often organized by the SSR in collaboration with the het European Judicial Training Network (EJTN). Examples include exchanges between European courts, study visits and traineeships at European institutions and courses and seminars in European countries.

The Judiciary welcomes about twenty foreign delegations per year. These visits are thematic and aim to exchange knowledge and expertise at an administrative level. For example, visits have been made to the Norwegian Judiciary on governance and organizational models, the Lithuanian Judiciary on communication and the Indonesian Judiciary on financing. Employees also make working visits to exchange knowledge and expertise. For example, a visit was made to the Swedish Judiciary on migration law, the Moroccan Justice on integrity and the Armenian Judiciary on administrative justice. Both visiting and visited countries are EU Member States, neighboring countries of the EU and countries with which the Dutch Judiciary has a historical cooperative relationship. Visits can also be made under the Taiex program of the EU.



The International Cooperation team, positioned at the Council for the Judiciary is the contact point for international affairs. For more information, please send an email to