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    Netherlands Criminal & Civil Court Record Check
Holland Criminal & Civil Court Record Check
Nationwide civil & criminal records check for Netherlands (Holland) covers available courts, boards and Tribunals of the following.
Dutch Supreme Court (Netherlands Supreme Court)
Hoge Raad der Nederlanden

Netherlands Courts of Appeal

Gerechtshof ' Gravenhage
Gerechtshof 's Hertogenbosch
Gerechtshof Amsterdam
Gerechtshof Arnhem
Gerechtshof Leeuwarden

Netherlands District Courts

Rechtbank 's Hertogenbosch
Rechtbank 's-Gravenhage
Rechtbank Alkmaar
Rechtbank Almelo
Rechtbank Amsterdam
Rechtbank Arnhem
Rechtbank Assen
Rechtbank Breda
Rechtbank Dordrecht
Rechtbank Groningen
Rechtbank Haarlem
Rechtbank Leeuwarden
Rechtbank Maastricht
Rechtbank Middelburg
Rechtbank Roermond
Rechtbank Rotterdam
Rechtbank Utrecht
Rechtbank Zutphen
Rechtbank Zwolle-Lelystad

Netherlands Cantonal Courts
 Kanton, Locatie 's Gravenhage
 Kanton, Locatie 's-Hertogenbosch
 Kanton, Locatie Alkmaar
 Kanton, Locatie Almelo
 Kanton, Locatie Alphen aan den Rijn
 Kanton, Locatie Amersfoort
 Kanton, Locatie Amsterdam
 Kanton, Locatie Apeldoorn
 Kanton, Locatie Arnhem
 Kanton, Locatie Assen
 Kanton, Locatie Bergen op Zoom
 Kanton, Locatie Boxmeer
 Kanton, Locatie Brielle
 Kanton, Locatie Delft
 Kanton, Locatie Den Helder
 Kanton, Locatie Deventer
 Kanton, Locatie Dordrecht
 Kanton, Locatie Eindhoven
 Kanton, Locatie Emmen
 Kanton, Locatie Enschede
 Kanton, Locatie Gorinchem
 Kanton, Locatie Gouda
 Kanton, Locatie Groningen
 Kanton, Locatie Haarlem
 Kanton, Locatie Harderwijk
 Kanton, Locatie Heerenveen
 Kanton, Locatie Heerlen
 Kanton, Locatie Helmond
 Kanton, Locatie Hilversum
 Kanton, Locatie Hoorn
 Kanton, Locatie Leeuwarden
 Kanton, Locatie Leiden
 Kanton, Locatie Lelystad
 Kanton, Locatie Maastricht
 Kanton, Locatie Meppel
 Kanton, Locatie Middelburg
 Kanton, Locatie Middelharnis
 Kanton, Locatie Nijmegen
 Kanton, Locatie Oost-Gelre
 Kanton, Locatie Oude IJsselstreek
 Kanton, Locatie Roermond
 Kanton, Locatie Rotterdam
 Kanton, Locatie Schiedam
 Kanton, Locatie Sittard-Geleen
 Kanton, Locatie Sneek
 Kanton, Locatie Terneuzen
 Kanton, Locatie Tiel
 Kanton, Locatie Tilburg
 Kanton, Locatie Utrecht
 Kanton, Locatie Venlo
 Kanton, Locatie Winschoten
 Kanton, Locatie Zaanstad
 Kanton, Locatie Zutphen
 Kanton, Locatie Zwolle
 Kanton, locatie Wageningen
  Supreme Court. There is one Supreme Court of the Netherlands. The Supreme Court hears appellate court cases, cases in which the law has been inappropriately applied, or cases in which there has been a violation of due process or procedural fairness. In addition, the Supreme Court may hear cases at first instance concerning crimes committed by senior government officials (such as the heads of Ministries) when the offenses were committed during the performance of their official duties.

Courts of Appeal. Five Courts of Appeal hear appeals rendered against District Court decisions. These courts may have additional chambers that hear appeals or sometimes cases at first instance in specific civil or tax matters.

District Courts. There are 19 District Courts. Each district covers three or four cantons in the Netherlands and handles both civil and criminal matters. The District Court hears criminal cases at first instance. In complex cases, or those in which the penalty may exceed 6 months incarceration, a panel of three judges will sit. In less serious matters, or those with a penalty of less than 6 months incarceration, a single judge, the "police magistrate" will pass judgement. The police magistrate may waive the case to a judicial panel if he or she deems it appropriate. Nearly all economic and environmental crimes are tried by a single judge. The District Courts also serve as courts of appeal for matters from the Cantonal Courts.

Cantonal Courts. The Cantonal Courts, handle both civil and criminal matters of a non serious nature. A single judge passes judgment in this court.

  Special Courts. At the District Court level there are special judges to try two special types of offenses. A Juvenile Court Magistrate tries all cases concerning juveniles which come before the court. Minor economic offenses are tried by the Economic Police Magistrate, whereas more serious economic offenses are tried by a judicial panel in the District Courts. Additionally, the Military Courts hear cases involving criminal offenses committed by personnel in the military.

Number of judges. Five justices usually sit on a panel of the Supreme Court. Where appropriate, the bench may contain only three justices. A panel on the Courts of Appeal may consist of either three or five judges. The District Courts differ greatly in size with the smallest District Court having only 12 judges while the largest has 50 judges. One can become a judge through an "inside" or an "outside" position. Immediately after completing a university law degree, the applicant trains "inside" the judiciary at a court or at the office of the public prosecutor. The training takes 6 years, during which time the trainee gains experience in the court, at a Public Prosecutor's Office, and outside of the court system at the Bar. This apprenticeship period is followed by 2 years' practical experience before the individual can apply for a vacant post. An "outsider" enters the profession after having worked for at least 6 years in the law field (private law firm, a university, or in the Ministry of Justice.) Applicants seeking judgeship appointments must appear before the Committee for Recruitment of Members of the Judiciary. The Committee consists of judges and members of the community representing various interests. Judges may remain in their position until they reach the retirement age of 70 years.  Criminal justice in the Netherlands is administered only by the public prosecutors and professional career judges. There are with very limited exceptions no lay judges in the Netherlands. One exceptions is in the military division of the District Court and Court of Appeal, where the defendant faces two professional judges and one military lay judge. Another exception is in the Court of Appeal at Arnhem, penitentiary division, where the defendant facing such penitentiary possibilities as the refusal of early release faces a panel of three professional judges and two experts in the behavioral sciences.

Netherlands Civil and Criminal Procedures.

Preparatory procedures for bringing a suspect to trial. The police or prosecutor's office may conduct a preliminary investigation of a crime or suspect. In certain instances, such as in customs or tax violations, other authorities may conduct the investigation. Under oath, the police prepare a report which includes all information and evidence and turn the report over to the prosecutor's office. In limited cases, those in which "police investigations cannot be finalized because specific further measures need to be taken," the prosecutor will request a judicial preliminary investigation by an "Examining Judge" at the District Court level. Other situations are dictated by the Code of Criminal Procedure to act as a check on senior police officers or prosecutors, such as circumstances involving the search of premises.

Official who conducts prosecution. The Public Prosecutor has sole responsibility for prosecution. He or she may decide the nature of the charge and has the power to reduce the charge, even if sufficient evidence exists to warrant a higher charge. The judge has no authority over this decision.

Alternatives to trial. The criminal justice system in the Netherlands operates under the principle of opportunity or expediency (opportuniteits-beginsel). This allows the prosecutor to dismiss cases in the interest of expediency or public interest The principle of opportunity is operative when other penal sanctions or measures are more preferable, when the prosecution would be "disproportionate, unjust or ineffective" with regard to the nature of the offense or the offender, or if the prosecution is contrary to the state or the victim. The Public Prosecutor can also exercise numerous options to dismiss charges. For instance, a technical dismissal, sometimes referred to as procedural waiver, will occur if insufficient evidence exists to prosecute the case in court. The procedural waiver is unconditional. Policy dismissals or waivers occur when the prosecutor feels that a criminal trial is unwarranted and that other alternatives are better suited to the defendant and the individual situation. These policy waivers are often conditional and can be combined with any number of dispositions (e.g., alcohol or drug treatment, community service, restitution to the victim, requirements to contact social work department, prohibition against visiting certain places). Another alternative to formal processing is the use of transaction, which involves payment by the defendant. This alternative terminates the case. The introduction of the Financial Penalties Act in 1983 allowed prosecutors to employ transaction with a wider range of offenses, excluding crimes which carried a prison sentence of more than 6 years. Conditions are specifically spelled out in the Criminal Code (Sections 74: subsection 2). Detailed regulations governing transaction procedure are outlined in section 74-74c of the Penal Code and section 578 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Pretrial incarceration conditions. There are several pretrial incarceration conditions. A person may only be detained for 6 hours before being charged with an offense, that charge being an informal charge, stating the violations of the criminal code. Within 3 days, the accused must be brought before a magistrate or the "Examining Judge" of the District Court. Trial must follow within 100 days after the initial police custody if detention is ordered. An automatic review of the detention occurs every month.  Detention may be ordered only for arrestable offenses, which are those carrying a sentence of imprisonment for 4 years or more. Detention can be ordered on the grounds that the suspect is a flight risk, or endangers public order or safety, particularly if the individual has committed a crime which is punishable with a sentence of incarceration over 12 years, or the danger exists that the individual will commit another serious offense which carries a possible penalty of 6 years incarceration. Another ground for detention is the possibility that the suspect may endanger the investigation by destroying evidence or tampering with witnesses. Pretrial detention may not be ordered if it is likely that the accused will not be sentenced to incarceration. It must be terminated if the time of detention has exceeded the probable sentence of incarceration.

Bail procedure. While detainees are not legally entitled to bail, provisional release may be granted by the District Court under certain conditions.

Rights of the accused. During the pretrial process the accused may file an appeal against the writ of summons and may request, if the case has not been brought to trial, that a competent court formally declare that the case has ended. Another pretrial right is the protection against further prosecution if the defendant enters into a transaction with the prosecutor. Plea bargaining, the entering of a guilty plea in exchange for a lesser charge, while not prohibited, is an uncommon practice in the Netherlands. Entering a guilty plea provides no particular advantages to the accused. The rights of the accused at trial process begin with the right to counsel. The defendant has the right to choose one or more attorneys to represent him but must, in essence, pay for an attorney of his choice. All cases involving deprivation of liberty guarantee the suspect the right to state appointed legal representation if the suspect is unable to afford counsel. The defendant has the right to be present at trial, although this is not required. As long as the defendant has been properly presented with a court summons, he or she is not obliged to be present at the trial. The defendant has the right to remain silent and may not be questioned at the trial under oath. The defense attorney may not cross-examine a witness, but may request the judge to ask questions of a witness. There is no right to cross-examination. The defendant may be found guilty or innocent only of the offense charged.

Assistance to the Accused. If the accused cannot afford an attorney, a request can be made to the District Legal Assistance Council which will assign counsel to represent the suspect. After the initial 6 hour detention in police custody, the suspect is provided legal assistance by the counsel on duty. This will be reviewed by the president of the district court. The government pays for Legal Assistance Bureaus which provide free advice to any Dutch citizen seeking legal assistance. In cases involving indigent defendants charged with indictable offenses (those prosecuted in the district courts), the District Legal Assistance Council will assign a lawyer to represent the accused. These counselors are paid a fixed rate by the criminal justice authorities.

Netherlands Police Procedures:

Use of force. Individuals have a "guaranteed right to physical integrity" as established by Article 11 of the Constitution. Any infringement of this right is rigidly controlled and must be prescribed by law. Article 33a of the modified Police Code dictates the conditions under which police may employ force against an individual. Self-defense is a further legal authorization for the use of police force, as prescribed by Article 41 of the Criminal Code: "Appropriate force, when possible, preceded by a warning, should be applied only if the objective cannot be achieved by other means". Deadly force may only be used in situations involving a threat to the life or safety of the officer or the public.

Stop/apprehend a suspect. Police may stop and question any suspect whom they believe to be involved in a violation of law. Temporary detention is limited to 6 hours before the suspect is either released or arrested. Police may only make an arrest for a crime which they witness in progress. If the police do not witness the crime they make an arrest only if the crime carries a statutory maximum prison sentence of 4 or more years (arrestable offenses). For less serious offenses, the suspect is taken to the station, questioned, and released with a summons to appear in court at a later date. In theory, a higher ranking police official can order detention for 2 days. The prosecutor has the authority to extend the arrest for another period of 48 hours before the suspect must be presented to an examining judge who will determine whether further detention is warranted. In practice, however, detention at the station can last no longer than 3 days as determined by the European Court of Human Rights in 1988.

Decision to Arrest. The decision to arrest is made by a senior police officer, who is an officer at the management level of Inspecteur. Officers need an arrest warrant only in situations in which the suspect is in his own or another private home and refuses to allow the officers entry onto the premises for the purpose of an arrest or a search of the house. Information pertaining to the percentage of warrantless arrests is not available. The majority of arrests are made without warrants, including those which occur after an investigation, as opposed to arrests made for crimes witnessed by the arresting officer. In cases of minor infractions involving first-time offenders, police will release the suspect. This practice is regulated by a formal agreement between the Police and the Public Prosecutor's Office. This agreement, however, is noted in police records to prevent habitual offenders from continuously being released as first-time offenders. Other factors which may influence an officer to deal informally with suspects involved in nonserious violations are the offender's age or the belief that formal processing in the criminal justice system would not benefit the suspect or the system. These are not regulated by departmental rules but are guided by personal beliefs and decided after consulting with a prosecutor (Officer of Justice).

Search and seizure. The search and seizure of property is dictated by Articles 94 to 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Under Article 97, the arresting officer can search the apartment or any public places where the offense occurred or where evidence of the offense may exist without a warrant when the suspect was caught in the act or when permission for arrest of a felony offense is outstanding. No search warrant is necessary if the suspect gives permission for the search. When a search warrant is required, an apartment may be searched only if the police officer is accompanied by any of the following persons: a cantonal court judge, a police commissioner, or the mayor of a municipality. A written search warrant may be issued by the procurer-general of a court, an Officer of Justice (prosecuting attorney), or by special written permission from one of his auxiliary officials (hulpofficier) which also includes a higher- ranking police official at the level of inspecteur. A hulpofficier can only provide a search warrant for another officer, but not for his own investigation. Any articles or objects which aid in establishing the truth or prove unlawfully obtained profit or criminal activity are subject to seizure.

Confessions. Confessions must be voluntary and may not be obtained through the use of force, threat, or promises; drugs, alcohol, hypnosis or exhaustion. They are to be taken in the accused's own words (Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 29). If a confession is involuntarily obtained it will be excluded from the trial. During police interrogation, suspects have the right to remain silent and cannot be forced to answer police questions. During the 6-hour detention period, police are allowed to question suspects and may refuse them access to a lawyer. After the 6-hour detention in cases where police make an arrest for an "arrestable" (felony) offense, a lawyer is automatically provided the accused.

  Extradition. The Netherlands has entered into both bilateral and multilateral agreements with numerous countries. The Act for International Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters contains the rules governing extradition in the Netherlands. The European Convention on Extradition, a multilateral agreement between member countries, and the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland (by accession), France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein (by accession), Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and with Israel (a non-member state by accession). The Netherlands has also entered into a treaty with the Benelux countries of Belgium and Luxembourg via the Benelux Treaty concerning Extradition and Assistance in Criminal Matters (Beneluxverdrag aangaande uitlevering en echtshulp in Strafzaken). In addition, bilateral treaties exist with the Federal Republic of Germany (1979 and 1983), the United States (1980 and 1983), Australia (1985), and Canada (1989). (Nederlands Wetboek, Suppl. 241, January 1993; Suppl. 183, October 1983; Suppl. 215, March 1989; and Suppl. 241, January 1993, respectively).

Exchange and transfer of prisoners. The exchange of prisoners is governed by the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, entered into force in 1985. This multilateral agreement provides for the transfer of sentenced persons between the Netherlands and the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the non-member states of the Bahamas, Canada, and the United States.

Specified conditions. In the aforementioned treaties, many countries have specified conditions under which they will or will not abide by the treaty. The Netherlands takes exception to the treaties under the following conditions: Extradition may be refused on humanitarian grounds and hardship situations based on youth, advanced age, or state of health; or if the requesting state would be authorized to refuse extradition. Under articles 6 and 21, the Netherlands will not grant extradition or transit of its nationals.The Public Prosecutor must seek approval for extradition in the District Court. A request for approval that is granted by the District Court may be appealed by the defendant in the Supreme Court. The ultimate decision of extradition is made by the Minister of Justice.




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