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Improved performance of the Netherlands Judiciary: Assessment Of The Gains For Society

Author:

Frans van Dijk

Director, Netherlands' Council for the Judiciary., NL
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Abstract

At the eve of the reorganization of the Netherlands Judiciary which led to fully responsible boards of the courts and a council for the Judiciary, in 1998 an inventory was made of bottle necks in the performance of the courts, as perceived by their users, and the gains for society of removing these bottlenecks were calculated in economic terms. Conceptually as well as from the perspective of data availability, this was not an easy undertaking. Now fifteen years later, it is of interest to evaluate whether the bottlenecks were solved and the then calculated gains reached. This paper reports the outcome of this evaluation with respect to civil and administrative cases. It shows that substantial progress was made, for instance, by reducing court delay and that a large part of the previously calculated gains was realized. But it also shows that the demands of society have increased further about timeliness, and, in particular, about digital access of the courts. And again substantial gains are possible and necessary. Within the Netherlands Judiciary it was recently concluded that these improvements require redesign of the laws of procedure to make procedures less formal and much faster, but also demand radical digitalization. As to the methodological aspects, the knowledge about the impact of the judicial function on the welfare of society is growing. However, the assessment of the economic impact of specific improvements such as reduction of court delay, let alone improved reasoning and consistency of judicial decisions, is still rare. The paper discusses possibilities and complications. While it is feasible to assess the direct gains to the parties in a court procedure, the gains resulting from a more effective "shadow of the law" due to the quicker and more predictable adjudication of cases are still elusive.

How to Cite: van Dijk, F., (2014). Improved performance of the Netherlands Judiciary: Assessment Of The Gains For Society. International Journal for Court Administration. 6(1), pp.83–99. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ijca.133
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Published on 19 Jun 2014.
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