The chambers of the Supreme Court

The first chamber is responsible for civil cases, including commercial law and family law. This division also deals with many cases that do not fall under civil law in the strictest sense, like those pursuant to the Psychiatric Hospitals (Compulsory Admission) Act.

Criminal cases and extradition are the responsibility of the second chamber, which also handles applications for review in criminal cases.

The third chamber is concerned with tax cases.

The judges of the Supreme Court come from a variety of professional backgrounds, but primarily from the judiciary, the legal profession and universities. Some are specialists, others are generalists.

Chamber structure

The Supreme Court of The Netherlands consists of three chambers: the civil, the criminal and the tax chamber.

The structure, of a civil, criminal and fiscal/tax chamber corresponds with the structure at the district courts and five regular courts of appeal in The Netherlands.

Our civil, criminal and fiscal chamber each have about ten members.

For each chamber applies that some of the members are specialists, others generalists. As a rule the generalists are career judges. In the group of the specialists you will find law professors, lawyers, tax consultants and also career judges (mostly judges from courts of appeal or from district courts).

Fundamental or complicated cases are decided by a combination (chair) of five justices. All other cases are decided by a combination of three.

The combination decides with a majority vote. But the other members of the chamber (the so-called reserves) also have some influence in the decision-making process.

The chamber will deal with a case after proceedings that are in fact exclusively in writing. Oral hearing are rare.