Most cases before civil court judges

Dutch courts heard more than 1.1 million cases in 2006. Judges dealt with significantly more civil cases than criminal or administrative cases.

Number of verdicts pronounced by courts per field of law


Stagnating growth in civil court cases

In 2006 cantonal and civil courts in the Netherlands heard more than 782 thousand cases. The number of cases heard by civil court judges rose strongly between 2000 and 2005 (by 58 percent). In 2006 the number was slightly down on 2005.

More cases for judges in administrative law

Judges in administrative law heard 50.5 thousand cases in 2006. This was an increase of 69 percent compared with 2000. One important reason for this increase was the introduction of appeal procedures through the courts for tax cases in 2005. Most verdicts pronounced were in cases concerning social insurance laws, income support benefits or taxes.

Verdicts in administrative law, 2006


Number of criminal cases stable

Not all criminal offences come before a judge. Some cases are dealt with by the public prosecutor’s office itself, and are settled by means of a fine or community service, for example. The remaining cases come before cantonal and criminal courts. In 2006 cantonal and criminal courts pronounced verdicts in more than 315 thousand criminal cases. Here, too, there has been a strong increase (59 percent) since 2000, although this the number was only slightly up on 2004 and 2005.

Most criminal cases are heard by judges in cantonal courts. These are mostly offences under the law on motor vehicle liability, the law on transport of passengers, local byelaws and traffic regulations. Offences under the Penal Code accounted for only 13 percent of cases coming before the cantonal courts.

Most cases heard by criminal court judges, on the other hand, did fall under the Penal Code. These were mostly violent offences, offences against property and offences under the road traffic act.

Penal Code cases, criminal courts, 2006


Nynke de Lange and Arno Sprangers