Administrative law judges in the Netherlands disposed of 5 percent more cases in 2011 than in 2010. These cases concern disputes involving tax, social benefits, dismissal of government employees, pensions and building permits. In one in five cases the judge awarded in favour of the plaintiff. One in three cases were withdrawn before the judge delivered a verdict.
Largest increase for tax and customs cases
Administrative judges in Dutch district courts disposed of 73.4 thousand cases in 2011, 5 percent more than in 2010. Administrative law deals with disputes between government agencies or between citizens and government agencies. In 2011 the number of cases involving tax and customs, in particular, was higher than in 2010. The number of cases concerning housing, construction and water boards fell slightly.
Administrative law cases disposed of by district courts
Mainly tax, social insurance and income support
In 2005, tax and customs cases handled in the first instance were transferred to the jurisdiction of the district courts instead of the courts of appeal. As a result, the number of verdicts of district courts rose systematically. Since then, these cases account for around one third of the total number of cases. In 2011, 36 percent of the 73.4 thousand cases disposed of concerned tax and customs disputes. Just over one in five cases related to social insurance and one in ten to income support benefit.
One in five claims awarded to plaintiff
In 2011, 19 percent of cases coming before an administrative judge were awarded to the plaintiff. In these cases the government agency concerned was obliged to revise its decision, in accordance with the judge’s verdict. This share has been fairly stable in recent years. The share of cases found in favour of the plaintiff was highest in cases concerning government employees: 25 percent.
One third of all cases disposed of were withdrawn before the judge pronounced a verdict on them. In 37 percent of the cases the judge pronounced the case to be unfounded, or rejected it. The decision of the government agency then remains intact. The remaining cases (11 percent) were not dealt with substantively, but disposed of on formal grounds, for example because the case was not brought to court in time, or because the court fees had not been paid.
Administrative law cases disposed of by courts, by type of verdict, 2011*
Nynke de Heer and Michelle van Rosmalen