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De Competentiegrens van Enkelvoudige Kamers in Stafzaken (Jurisdiction of Single-Judge Divisions in Criminal Proceedings)

NCJ Number
B. M. Dijksterhuis; M. J. G. Jacobs; W. M. de Jongste
Date Published
75 pages
This report presents findings from a study which researched the consequences of expanding jurisdiction of single-judge divisions in the Netherlands.
In 1921, criminal trial by a single judge was introduced in the Netherlands and began by being limited to uncomplicated criminal cases with a maximum sentence of 6 months of imprisonment. In 2002, this maximum was raised to 12 months of imprisonment. In 2002, the government was asked to initiate research to obtain a better understanding into the consequences of additional expansion of jurisdiction of single-judge divisions. This report presents the findings from this research. Two questions were addressed: (1) how many of what types of cases would be heard by single-judge divisions, if their jurisdictional limit were extended to offenses attracting a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment and (2) what is the opinion of prosecutors, judges, and defense counsel about the expansion of jurisdiction. Quantitative data were obtained from the National Criminal Justice Administration Monitor and related to criminal files in 1993 and 1995. Data were also obtained from the Public Prosecution Service for 1999. The data indicate that non-violent offenses as well as uncomplicated drug offenses would qualify for trial by single-judge divisions. It was expected that with the expansion there would be a reduction of the workload of full-bench divisions nearer the upper than the lower estimated limits. In addition, the majority of the 16 prominent representatives of the Public Prosecution Service, the bench, and the bar that were interviewed favored extending jurisdiction of single-judge divisions to offenses attracting a maximum sentence of 1 year of imprisonment. The most important argument against extension is that the added value of an appeal lies in bringing the case before a full-bench division.