New acts as of 1 july 2014

Broader application of the criminal code

Minister Opstelten and State Secretary Teeven would like to enable criminal prosecutions in more cases that involve Dutch persons who have been victims of serious crime abroad.  The law, which comes into force on 1 July, connects into the cabinet's policy to strengthen the position of victims. If the authorities in the country in which the crime took place do not act, the Netherlands can take positive steps to trace and prosecute the perpetrators. The options in this regard are currently limited.

Not only must the law take its course, it is also important that Dutch victims and their close friends and family are offered support. Currently, there are situations where no country acts because, for example, the Netherlands has no legal authority. This issue will now be resolved. Furthermore, the measure has been drawn up with an eye on the significant increase in free-traffic within the European Union and society's increasing internationalisation. The legislative proposal expands the so-called extra-territorial legal authority of the Netherlands

Preventative stop-and-search for weapons

Mayors will be able to designate an area where the police, on the order of a public prosecutor, can carry out preventative 'stop and search' procedures for a maximum 12 hour period. This must relate to an unexpected event, such as a serious fight at an exit from a disco or café or a threatening confrontation between football hooligans in the vicinity of a train station. The new authority is intended to be used for short-term stop-and-search procedures. The new act from minister Opstelten will come into force on 1 July.

The mayor does not need permission from the local council; he must however, inform them as quickly as possible. Both the mayor's decision and the order from the public prosecutor can be issued verbally, with written confirmation being provided thereafter. Mayors, public ministries and the police can thus deliver a more targeted response to armed incidents or more effectively prevent unrest.

Pawn Loans

The customers of pawnbrokers are to be offered additional protection. As of 1 July, new rules from ministers Opstelten and Kamp must ensure that they are better informed about the conditions of loans resulting from pawned items. This concerns, for example, the payment amount that must be repaid to the pawnbroker for the loan and the length of the loan period. Pawnbrokers still fulfil the needs of people who need cash quickly but are unable or do not wish to actually borrow money and who are not prepared to sell their possessions.

The current Pawnbroker Act dates from 1910 and is outdated; pawnbroker customers are therefore inadequately protected. The new act will ensure that pawnbroker customers are offered decent protection and the services offered by these establishments are maintained.

Trans-genders

Trans-gender individuals over the age of 16 will find it easier to change the gender on their birth certificates, without having to go to court. An expert will simply have to ascertain that the conviction of a person to belong to the other sex is of a permanent nature. This concerns an act from State Secretary Teeven that will come into force on 1 July 2014.

With this statement, the registrar of births, deaths and marriages may amend the gender on the birth certificate of the person concerned. The expert's statement will indicate that the trans-gender person has made it clear that he/she belongs to the other sex, has researched the issue thoroughly and would therefore like to change the gender indicated on their birth certificate.