From 2017 on, citizens and companies can submit their documents digitally in cases brought before the civil and administrative courts in the Netherlands. Litigants can follow each step of the process via a digital dossier called ‘My Case’. In addition, the proceedings before the civil courts are simplified with the basic procedure of one written round, one court hearing and then a decision.
The Dutch Senate has just adopted four legislative proposals to introduce the digitisation of court cases. The bills are the basis of the KEI program (Quality and Innovation Judiciary). The Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice has been working together with the judiciary on the simplification and digitisation of the proceedings in civil and administrative cases. KEI should lead to better access to justice, faster processing of cases and improved custom fit services.
Individual litigants will receive access to a digital file called ‘My Case’. This enables them to follow every step in what is hoped to become a more transparent process. Another advantage for the lawyer is the faster digital communication with the court compared to the current use of the fax. For citizens who litigate without a lawyer, it remains possible to litigate on paper. For the judiciary, the main improvement is that the administration will be less time-consuming.
Civil proceedings will become simpler, with a basic procedure, one written round, one hearing in court and then a decision. The core is a hearing soon after the start of the basic procedure. In the majority of cases, the decision can come within 6 weeks. When the matter is more complicated, the judge may supplement the basic procedure with an additional written or oral round. This enables the judge to better suit the needs of the litigants and to provide tailored services.