Chapter 2 Administration of justice
Part 5 The Supreme Court
Article 72 Composition of the Supreme Court
- 1. The Supreme Court must consist of a president,
a maximum of seven vice-presidents, a maximum of thirty justices and a
maximum of fifteen justices extraordinary.
- 2. The justices extraordinary serve as justices
if called upon to do so by the president.
- 3. A clerk of the court/registrar must be
appointed at the Supreme Court.
- 4. Court legal assistants may be appointed
at the Supreme Court.
- 5. For the purposes of paragraph 1 the president,
vice-presidents and justices of the Supreme Court who have been granted
special unpaid leave must be disregarded for the term of that leave and
for a maximum of one year thereafter.
- 6. For the purposes of paragraph 1, judicial
officers who have been appointed on a part-time basis are counted on the
basis of the fraction represented by their working hours.
Article 73 Replacement in the absence of the president
- 1. A vice-president will deputise for the
president if he is sick or otherwise unable to attend.
- 2. In the absence of a deputy clerk of the
court/registrar, an acting clerk of the court/registrar will deputise
for the clerk of the court/registrar if he is sick or otherwise unable
- 3. The acting clerks of the court/registrars
are appointed by Our Minister on the recommendation of the Supreme Court.
Before taking up their appointment, they take an oath or make an affirmation
in the presence of the president of the Supreme Court. The wording of
the oath or affirmation is adopted – and further rules about their
swearing-in may be laid down – by or pursuant to order in council.
They receive a fee set in accordance with rules to be laid down by or
pursuant to order in council.
- 4. The appointment of an acting clerk of
the court/registrar is terminated at his request by Our Minister. Our
Minister must give notice of this to the president of the Supreme Court.
- 5. Our Minister may terminate the employment
of an acting clerk of the court/registrar:
a) if he has not performed the duties of a
clerk of the court/registrar for a period of at least three years
b) on the ground of unsuitability, other than
on account of ill-health, or
c) for an act or omission that should not be
committed by a person working for the Supreme Court.
Article 74 Duty to inform the Government
The Supreme Court must give an opinion or provide information if requested
by the government.
Article 75 Set op of full-bench and single-judge divisions
- 1. The Supreme Court must set up, on the
proposal of the president, one or more full-bench divisions and, in the
cases prescribed by law, one or more single-judge divisions and must determine
- 2. Save for the exceptions provided for
by law, cases are decided in the Supreme Court by five members of a full-bench
division, one of whom acts as presiding justice.
- 3. The presiding justice of a full-bench
division may provide that a case that he deems suitable for this purpose
is heard and decided by three members of that division. If the case is
deemed by one of these members to be unsuitable for hearing and decision
by three members, the hearing must be continued by five members.
- 4. The Supreme Court must, on the proposal
of the president, adopt a set of regulations, laying down the organisation
- 5. The regulations must be published in
the Government Gazette.
Article 76 Competence to rule on offences committed by Ministers, State
Secretaries and Members of Parliament
- 1. The Supreme Court takes cognizance at
both first and last instance of serious and minor public office offences
committed by members of the States General, ministers and state secretaries.
- 2. Serious and minor public office offences
include criminal offences committed in one of the aggravating circumstances
referred to in article 44 of the Criminal Code.
- 3. In the cases referred to in paragraphs
1 and 2, the Supreme Court also has jurisdiction to hear claims by an
injured party for costs and damages.
- 4. The cases referred to in paragraphs 1
and 2 are heard by ten justices of the Supreme Court. In the event of
a tied vote, judgment must be given in favour of the defendant.
Article 77 Competence in case of disputes between district courts and/or
courts of appeal
- 1. The Supreme Court takes cognizance at
both first and last instance of jurisdictional disputes between:
a) district courts, unless Article 61 is applicable;
b) courts of appeal;
c) a court of appeal and a district court;
d) a court belonging to the judiciary and a
court not belonging to the judiciary;
e) administrative courts, unless another administrative
court has jurisdiction in this matter.
- 2. If a jurisdictional dispute has arisen
between the Supreme Court and another court referred to in paragraph 1,
the division of the Supreme Court that decides the case must be composed
as far as possible of justices who have no prior knowledge of the case.
Article 78 Appeal in cassation
- 1. The Supreme Court takes cognizance of
appeals in cassation against the acts, judgments and orders of the courts
of appeal and the district courts instituted either by a party or, in
the interests of the uniform application of the law, by the procurator
general at the Supreme Court.
- 2. Paragraph 1 does not apply to the acts
and rulings of the district courts in cases of which they take cognizance
as administrative courts.
- 3. Paragraph 1 does not apply to acts and
decisions either of the district courts or of the court of appeal in Leeuwarden
in cases concerning the Traffic Regulations (Administrative Enforcement)
Act, subject to the proviso that the Supreme Court will take cognizance
of an application by the procurator general for cassation in the interests
of the uniform application of the law.
- 4. The Supreme Court takes cognizance of
appeals in cassation against rulings of the administrative courts in so
far as this is provided for by statute.
- 5. A party may not institute an appeal in
cassation if another ordinary legal remedy is or was available to him.
- 6. Appeal in cassation may not be instituted
in the interests of the uniform application of the law if an ordinary
legal remedy is available to the parties. Such appeal does not prejudice
the rights obtained by the parties.
Article 79 Grounds for cassation: defiance of procedural rules or infringement
of national law
- 1. The Supreme Court sets aside acts, judgments
a) on account of a procedural defect in so
far as nullity is the express consequence of such defect or such nullity
results from the nature of the procedural defect;
b) on account of an infringement of the law,
with the exception of the law of foreign states.
- 2. Facts from which the applicability or
otherwise of a rule of customary law is inferred are assumed, in so far
as they require proof, to have been established only on the basis of the
Article 80 Immediate appeal in cassation against a judgement of the Subdistrict
- 1. A judgment or an order of a limited jurisdiction
judge (Subdistrict Court) in a civil case against which no appeal lies
or lay may be the subject of an appeal in cassation by a party only on
one of the following grounds:
a) the judgment or order does not include the
grounds for the decision;
b) the judgment or, in so far as required by
law, the order was not given in public;
c) the judge lacked jurisdiction; or
d) the judge exceeded his powers.
- 2. Save for cassation allowed in the interest
of the uniform application of the law, a judgment of a limited jurisdiction
judge in a criminal case may not be set aside for a procedural defect
other than that:
a) the judgment does not contain the charge
or, in the case of a judicial finding of fact, the charge and the grounds
on which the judgment is based;
b) the decision was not made on the basis of
c) a decision as referred to in article 358,
paragraph 3, of the Code of Criminal Procedure was not given or the reasons
for this decision were not given; or
d) the judgment was not given in public.
Article 81 Sometimes no duty to substantiate a rejecting decision
If the Supreme Court considers that a complaint that has been filed cannot
result in cassation and does not warrant the answering of questions of
law in the interests of the uniform application of the law or the development
of the law, it may confine itself to this consideration when stating the
grounds for its decision.
Article 82 Swearing in of officials
- 1. The Supreme Court is responsible for
swearing in officials who have to be sworn in by or pursuant to statute.
- 2. The function referred in paragraph 1
is performed by the president of the Supreme Court. The swearing in occurs
on the application of the procurator general.
Article 83 Duty of the lower courts to provide the Supreme Court with
The district courts, courts of appeal and presidents must provide information
when this is considered necessary by the Supreme Court for the consideration
of a case.
Article 83a [repealed on 1-1-2002]