'Dutch law should be more accessible to the people'
Lower courts with no legal representation requirement may be given a wider range of legal powers and responsibilities.
The Hague – A bill under consideration in parliament's lower house will give sub-district courts in the Netherlands more authority over civil and consumer cases.
Legal representation – obtaining a lawyer – is not required in these courts.
Sub-district courts (kantongerecht) currently deal with all cases involving rent, hire purchase and employment, and conflicts up to EUR 5,000.
The bill submitted by Dutch justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin would raise the limit to EUR 25,000.
It would also broaden the court's scope to include consumer loans and purchase disputes.
The law of the Netherlands should be more accessible to the people, the ministry said in a press release Monday.
In criminal law, the sub-district courts only hear cases involving minor offences. No changes were announced in the sub-district courts concerning these cases.
Hirsch Ballin's bill would also allow citizens to complain about judges to the Dutch supreme court. The procedure would be supplementary to filing a complaint in the district where the judge operates.
Hirsch Ballin is expected to submit an plan for general reform of the current justice system to the lower house before the end of 2009.
Radio Netherlands / Jennifer Evans / Expatica