A pardon is the annulment in full or in part of an imposed penalty.
After conviction, the convicted offender or someone else on his/her behalf can submit a request for pardon. These requests are sent to a special department of the Ministry of Justice. If the request complies with the legal requirements, the department consults with the Minister of Justice and the judge. Subsequently the request is presented to the Queen. She may then grant a pardon by Royal Decree.
The Pardons Act states two grounds on which a pardon may be granted. First, if there are circumstances, or new circumstances, that the judge did not or not sufficiently take into account in his verdict, while these circumstances would have resulted in a lower penalty. Secondly, if the penalty or continuation of the penalty no longer serves a reasonable purpose.