Supreme Court of the Netherlands

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The Supreme Court of the Netherlands (Dutch: Hoge Raad der Nederlanden [ˈɦoːɣə raːdər ˈneːdərlɑndə(n)][2] or simply Hoge Raad), officially the High Council of the Netherlands, is the final court of appeal in civil, criminal and tax cases in the Netherlands, including Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Aruba.[3] The Court was established on 1 October 1838 and is located in The Hague.[4]

Supreme Court of the Netherlands
Hoge Raad der Nederlanden (Dutch)
Logo of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands
Supreme Court of the Netherlands, The Hague
52°5′0.52″N 4°18′41.85″E / 52.0834778°N 4.3116250°E / 52.0834778; 4.3116250
Established1 October 1838
JurisdictionNetherlands (including Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Aruba)
LocationThe Hague, Netherlands
Coordinates52°5′0.52″N 4°18′41.85″E / 52.0834778°N 4.3116250°E / 52.0834778; 4.3116250
MottoUbi iudicia deficiunt incipit bellum
Composition methodSelected by the House of Representatives on advice of the Supreme Court and appointed by royal decree
Authorized byConstitution of the Netherlands
Statute of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Judge term lengthLife tenure with mandatory retirement at the age of 70
Number of positionsVaries (currently 36)
President of the Supreme Court
CurrentlyDineke de Groot
Since1 November 2020[1]

The Supreme Court rules on civil and criminal matters. In certain administrative cases it has final jurisdiction as well, while in other cases this jurisdiction rests with the adjudicative division of the Council of State (Raad van State), the Central Appeals Tribunal (Centrale Raad van Beroep), the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (College van Beroep van het bedrijfsleven) as well as judicial institutions in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Court is a court of cassation, which means that it has the competence to quash or affirm rulings of lower courts, but no competence to re-examine or question the facts. It only considers whether the lower courts applied the law correctly and the rulings have sufficient reasoning.[5] In so doing it establishes case law.

As the government of the Netherlands is characterised by parliamentary sovereignty, the Supreme Court cannot overturn primary legislation made by the States-General. This is laid out in Article 120 of the Constitution, which states that courts may not rule on the constitutionality of laws passed by the States General and treaties. With the exception of the Constitutional Court of Sint Maarten (which rules on constitutionality with regards to the Sint Maarten constitution only) courts thus have little competence for judicial review with respect to the Constitution.[6][7] However, it is possible for courts (including the Supreme Court) to overturn secondary legislation made by the executive government.

The Supreme Court currently consists of 36 judges: a president, six vice presidents, twenty-five justices (raadsheren, literally "Lords of the Council") and four justices extraordinary (buitengewone dienst).[8] All judges are appointed for life, until they retire at their own request or mandatorily on their 70th birthday.[9]

History edit

The Huis Huguetan on Lange Voorhout, Supreme Court seat from 1988 to 2016

The development of cassation in the Netherlands was heavily influenced by the French during the Batavian Revolution at the end of the 18th century. The establishment of the Supreme Court on 1838 brought an end to the Great Council of Mechelen and its successor, the Hoge Raad van Holland en Zeeland, which both served as high appellate courts.[4]

Second World War edit

Lodewijk Ernst Visser, President of the Dutch Supreme Court from 1939 to 1941, forced to resign by the Nazi occupying forces.

During the Nazi occupation, the Supreme Court kept functioning. In November 1940 the German occupiers forced its president, Lodewijk Ernst Visser, to resign because he was Jewish. It was part of Nazi policy to separate Jews as a group, disrupting legal and social norms, in pursuit of their murderous policy of the Final Solution. Visser's colleagues did not protest. The members who remained also signed a compulsory declaration about Aryans.[citation needed] Visser "repeatedly warned the Dutch authorities not to relinquish jurisdiction over Jewish citizens and residents, and not to allow their legal protection to be lifted."[10]

After the liberation, people reproached the Court for its weak and legalistic attitude. The Court justified its stance because it wished to guarantee the continuity of its jurisdiction under the Nazi occupation and purportedly avoid involvement in politics. They did not take a stand on principle against the German occupation or set a moral example, perhaps because they felt they were not in a position to do so.[11] This was demonstrated in a so-called "Test sentence", (Supreme Court, 12 January 1942, NJ 1942/271), in which the Supreme Court ruled that a Dutch judge could not contest the decrees of the occupying force on the basis of international law, in particular the 1907 regulation prescribed for a country at war. In this, the Supreme Court followed the advice of the barrister-general A. Rombach. The judgment concerned a case in which a man was sentenced by the economic judge for an "economic offence" (the purchase of pork without valid coupons). The counsel for the accused, P. Groeneboom, argued in his defense before the Supreme Court on 27 October 1941 that the judge had the authority to challenge the regulations of the occupying force on the basis of the regulation prescribed for a country at war, the decree of the Führer and the first regulation of the government commissioner. When the Supreme Court (in a judgment of 12 January 1942) denied the possibility of contesting rules issued by the German government, the Netherlands followed what was the rule in Germany and Italy too. On the basis of two emergency measures Hitler had the authority to issue incontestable rules, and the legal establishment acknowledged not it was not allowed to challenge "political" measures. "Political" in this case was what the political authorities considered to be political. In Italy the Court of Appeal recognized the free authority of Mussolini and the judge's lack of authority to control it.[12] Meihuizen says about the Dutch test sentence: "A sentence with far-reaching consequences because with this, barristers were not given the chance to bring before the judge the question of the validity of legislation which had been issued by or on behalf of the occupier."[13]: 85  The Supreme Court defended this sentence in retrospect with the conjecture that the Germans would never accept their decrees being contested and might have intervened in a negative way with the legal establishment, resulting in a further diminishing of citizens' legal protection.[11]

In 1943, during the Second World War, the seat of the Supreme Court was temporarily moved from The Hague to Nijmegen. With the liberation of Nijmegen in September 1944, this led to a situation in which, although the seat was on liberated ground, most of the Justices found themselves still in occupied territory. After the war, there was not much done to clear matters; lawyers who had collaborated with the Germans generally kept their jobs or got important other positions. A crucial role in this affair was played by J. Donner, who became President of the Supreme Court in 1946.[11]

Buildings edit

The court was located at a corner of the Binnenhof complex from 1838 until 1864, before moving to a building in the Plein, dubbed het hondenhok ("the doghouse"). The building was fully renovated in 1938 and finally demolished in 1988. At this point, the Supreme Court moved to the Huguetan house at 34–36 Lange Voorhout, the previous home of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Royal Library of the Netherlands). In March 2016 the court moved into a new building[14] at Korte Voorhout 8.[15]

Authority edit

In the Netherlands a case is first heard by one of the ten district courts (rechtbanken). Afterwards, either side may appeal to one of the four courts of appeal (gerechtshoven). Finally, either party may file a cassation appeal to the Supreme Court.

Composition edit

Justices of the Supreme Court are appointed by royal decree, chosen from a list of three, advised by the House of Representatives on the advice of the Court itself. The justices are, like every other judge in the Netherlands, appointed for life, until they retire at their own will or after reaching the age of 70. Upon reaching the age of 60, a justice may change status to extraordinary, with the effect that the justice no longer plays a full role at the Court.

The Supreme Court is divided into four chambers: the first or civil chamber, the second or criminal chamber, the third or tax chamber and the fourth or ombudsman chamber. The members of the fourth division are chosen ad hoc, but will include the President of the Court.[9]

Current justices edit

As of April 2016, the first three chambers are composed as follows:[9]

Name Chamber Invested Born
Ernst Numann (Vice President) Civil 2000 1950
Floris Bakels (Vice President) Civil 2003 1949
Annemarie van Buchem-Spapens Civil 1 September 1998 1951
Kees Streefkerk Civil 1 October 2004 1955
Toon Heisterkamp Civil 1 February 2007 1953
Gerbrant Snijders Civil 1 June 2011 1961
Dineke de Groot (President) Civil 1 February 2012 1965
Martijn Polak Civil 1 September 2012 1961
Vincent van den Brink Civil 1 October 2012 1966
Tanja van den Broek Civil 1 January 2014 1964
Edgar du Perron Civil 1 April 2016 1965
Willem van Schendel (Vice President) Criminal 2001 1950
Leo van Dorst (Vice President) Criminal 1999 1949
Bon de Savornin Lohman Criminal 1 April 2000 1947
Jaap de Hullu Criminal 1 September 2003 1958
Tineke Splinter-Van Kan Criminal 24 January 2005 1947
Ybo Buruma Criminal 1 September 2011 1955
Elishewa van de Griend Criminal 1 February 2014 1963
Nastja van Strien Criminal 1 June 2015 1961
Eveline Faase Criminal 1 September 2015 1958
Matthias Borgers Criminal 1 January 2016 1973
Jeppe Balkema[Note 1] Criminal 1998 1946
Jan Ilsink[Note 1] Criminal 2003 1946
Maarten Feteris Tax 2008 1960
Jacques Overgaauw (Vice President) Tax 2008 1951
Robert Koopman (Vice President) Tax 1 February 2010 1962
Dick van Vliet Tax 1997 1946
Bernard Bavinck Tax 1 January 2000 1946
Liesbeth Punt Tax 24 January 2005 1962
Cees Schaap Tax 1 September 2006 1947
Piet van Loon Tax 1 February 2009 1954
Marc Fierstra Tax 1 June 2009 1959
Theo Groeneveld Tax 1 February 2012 1948
Jules Wortel Tax 1 February 2012 1954
Loek van Kalmthout Tax 1 June 2013 1955
Mariken van Hilten Tax 1 September 2015 1964
Peter Lourens[Note 1] Tax 1999 1946
Jaap van den Berge[Note 1] Tax 2001 1948
  1. ^ a b c d Supernumerary justice.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Central Government 13-3-20 Appointment new president Supreme Court
  2. ^ In isolation, Raad and der are pronounced [raːt] and [dɛr], respectively.
  3. ^ "Nederlandse Antillen en Aruba". (in Dutch). De Rechtspraak. 27 July 2007. Archived from the original on 19 October 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Geschiedenis van de Hoge Raad". (in Dutch). De Rechtspraak. 18 September 2004. Archived from the original on 6 October 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Supreme Court". De Rechtspraak. 10 August 2009. Archived from the original on 16 October 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  6. ^ According to article 120 of the Constitution of the Netherlands, judges will not rule on the constitutionality of laws passed by the States General and treaties.
  7. ^ For a discussion of judicial review in the Netherlands see Uzman, J.; Barkhuysen, T.; van Emmerik, M.L. "The Dutch Supreme Court: A Reluctant Positive Legislator?" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 July 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  8. ^ "The World Factbook". Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  9. ^ a b c "Raad". (in Dutch). De Rechtspraak. Archived from the original on 29 January 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  10. ^ Romijn, Peter. "The Experience of the Jews in the Netherlands during the German Occupation" in Dutch Jewry: Its History and Secular Culture. Leiden:Brill 2002, 260
  11. ^ a b c Corjo Jansen en Derk Venema, "The Supreme Court and the Second World War" (in Dutch), Boom, Amsterdam, 2011.
  12. ^ Derk Venema, "Judges in war time: The Dutch judiciary's confrontation with national socialism and the occupation" (in Dutch), Boom, Amsterdam, 2007.
  13. ^ Joggli Meihuizen, "Narrow Margins. The Dutch Bar during World War II." (in Dutch), Boom, Amsterdam, 2010 (an English summary was also published by Boom, Amsterdam, 2010).
  14. ^ "Het gebouw van de Hoge Raad". Hoge raad (in Dutch). 12 September 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  15. ^ "Contact en bezoekersinformatie". Hoge raad (in Dutch). 5 November 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2021.

External links edit