Supreme Court of the Netherlands

Supreme Court of the Netherlands
Supreme Court of the Netherlands
Hoge Raad der Nederlanden
Hoge raad gebouw lange voorhout.jpg
Established 1838
Jurisdiction Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint-Maarten, Aruba
Location The Hague, Netherlands
Coordinates 52°5′0.52″N 4°18′41.85″E / 52.0834778°N 4.311625°E / 52.0834778; 4.311625Coordinates: 52°5′0.52″N 4°18′41.85″E / 52.0834778°N 4.311625°E / 52.0834778; 4.311625
Composition method Selected by the House of Representatives on advice of the Supreme Court and appointed by Royal Order.
Authorized by Constitution of the Netherlands
Judge term length Appointed for life until retired at 70
Number of positions 41
President of the Supreme Court
Currently Geert Corstens
Since 1 October 2008[1]

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The Supreme Court of the Netherlands (Dutch: Hoge Raad der Nederlanden, High Council of the Netherlands) is the highest court of the Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Aruba.[2] The Court was established on 1 October 1838 and sits in The Hague, Netherlands.[3]

The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is limited primarily to civil, criminal and tax-related cases. The Court has the authority to overturn rulings by appellate courts (cassation) and therefore establishes case law, but only if the lower court applied the law incorrectly or the ruling lacks sufficient reasoning; facts are no longer subject of discussion.[4] The Court may not rule on the constitutionality of laws passed by the States-General and treaties. Hence the Netherlands has no constitutional court.[5]

The Supreme Court consists of 41 judges: a president, 6 vice-presidents, 31 justices (raadsheren) and 3 justices in exceptional service (buitengewone dienst). All judges are appointed for life, until they retire at the age of 70.[6]



The development of cassation in the Netherlands was heavily influenced by the French during the Batavian Revolution at the end of 18th century. The establishment of the Supreme Court on 1838 brought an end to the Grote Raad van Mechelen and its successor the Hoge Raad van Holland, Zeeland en West-Friesland, which both served as high appellate courts.[3]


In the Netherlands a case is first heard by one of the five courts of appeal (gerechtshoven). Afterwards any party may file a cassation appeal before the Supreme Court.

Composition and current membership

Justices of the Supreme Court are appointed by Royal Decree, from a list of three, advised by the House of Representatives on the advice of the Hoge Raad itself. The judges are, like every other judge in the Netherlands, appointed for life, until they either die or retire after reaching the age of 70. Upon reaching the age of 60, a justice may change status to exceptional (also known as special) service, with the effect that the judge no longer plays a full role at the court.

The Supreme Court is divided into four chambers: the first or civil chamber, the second or criminal chamber, the third or tax chamber and the fourth or 'ombuds' chamber. The members of the fourth chamber are chosen ad hoc, but will include the president of the court.[6]

First (or civil) chamber

  • Hans Fleers, vice-president and chairman
  • Detmer Beukenhorst, vice-president
  • Oscar de Savornin Lohman, justice
  • Annemarie van Buchem-Spapens, justice
  • Ernst Numann, justice
  • Fred Hammerstein, justice
  • Jules van Oven, justice
  • Willem van Schendel, justice
  • Floris Bakels, justice
  • Cees Streefkerk, justice
  • W.D.H. Asser, justice
  • C.E. Drion, justice

Second (or criminal) chamber

  • F.H. Koster, vice-president and chairman
  • G.J.M. Corstens, president of Supreme Court
  • A.J.A. van Dorst, vice-president
  • B.C. de Savornin Lohman, justice
  • J.W. Ilsink, justice
  • J. de Hullu, justice
  • W.M.E. Thomassen, justice
  • H.A.G. Splinter-Van Kan, justice
  • W.F. Groos, justice
  • C.H.W.M. Sterk, justice
  • M.A. Loth, justice
  • J.P. Balkema, justice in exceptional service

Third (or tax) chamber

  • D.G. van Vliet, vice-president
  • J.W. van den Berge, vice-president
  • C.B. Bavinck, justice
  • A.R. Leemreis, justice
  • C.J.J. van Maanen, justice
  • E.N. Punt, justice
  • C. Schaap, justice
  • J.W.M. Tijnagel, justice
  • A.H.T. Heisterkamp, justice
  • J.A.C.A. Overgaauw, justice
  • M.W.C. Feteris, justice
  • P.M.F. van Loon, justice
  • M.A. Fierstra, justice
  • R.J. Koopman, justice
  • A.E.M. van der Putt-Lauwers, justice in exceptional service
  • L. Monné, justice in exceptional service
  • P. Lourens, justice in exceptional service


  1. ^ "Benoeming mr. G.J.M. Corstens tot president van de Hoge Raad" (in Dutch). Hoge Raad der Nederlanden. 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  2. ^ "Nederlandse Antillen en Aruba" (in Dutch). De Rechtspraak. 2007-07-27. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  3. ^ a b "Geschiedenis van de Hoge Raad" (in Dutch). De Rechtspraak. 2004-09-18. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  4. ^ "Supreme Court". De Rechtspraak. 2009-08-10. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  5. ^ According to article 120 of the Constitution of the Netherlands, judges will not rule on the constitutionality of laws passed by the States-General and treaties.
  6. ^ a b "Raad" (in Dutch). De Rechtspraak. 2004-10-14. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 

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