Cabinet simplifies and clarifies administrative law

A strict division is to be introduced between the advisory and the judicial tasks of the Council of State. The number of councils that process legal affairs in the Supreme Court will also be reduced from 3 to 1. With these measures, the cabinet is aiming to simplify administrative law and offer further uniformity within administrative legal rulings.

This is stated in the letter that ministers Plasterk from Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK) and Opstelten of Security and Justice (VenJ) have sent to the Upper and Lower Houses today.

Bringing an end to the so-called double-appointment of the members of the Council of State also forms part of the measures that the cabinet is taking in order to more effectively delineate the advisory aspect from the judicial aspect: judges in the Council of State may no longer simultaneously fulfil an advisory role. The law shall also state that the vice president and the Council of State may not interfere with the process and content of the judiciary. The legal competencies of judges will fall under the Department of administrative law or the chairman thereof. The budget will show a distinction between the costs for both tasks. Finally, the division between advisory and judicial aspects will be visible in the presentation to the public.

In 2010, a far-reaching distinction was implemented between the advisory and the judicial tasks of the Council of State, when tasks were accommodated within a separate department and the maximum number of double-appointments was limited to 10. These additional measures will further strengthen the independence and impartiality of the law.

The cabinet would also like to simplify the administrative law system, which is currently divided across various councils in the Supreme Court. The Central Council of Appeal and the Council of Appeal for industry will be abolished. Cases that now fall under the Central Council of Appeal will be handled by the 4 courts of law. Cases put before the Council of Appeal for industry will be presented to the Council of State's Department of administrative law. The nature and content of various types of dispute will be the deciding factors when making a choice. The number of higher administrative judges will thus be reduced from 3 to 1.

The cabinet has deliberately chosen not to bring an end to the judicial task of the Council of State. This could lead to substantially higher social costs because administration of the law within the Department of administrative law of the Council of State is typified by relatively short durations and because the Department of administrative law is tasked with processing very varied cases.

The measures set out have arisen as a result of the coalition agreement. The ministers will present a legal proposal in which these measures are elaborated later this year.