Senate agrees to government compensation scheme

The Senate has unanimously accepted a legislative proposal from Minister Opstelten of Security and Justice that makes the right to compensation for lawful and unlawful government conduct easier and more accessible.

In the case of lawful government conduct, there may be so-called compensation for loss resulting from administrative acts. This concerns, for example, compensation granted to entrepreneurs if their business cannot be reached or becomes difficult to reach as a result of the reconstruction of a road. Said compensation is not the rule but rather an exception and in principle only part of the damage is compensated. The starting point is and remains that citizens and business have to accept, in principle, that the government takes measures that may have adverse consequences for them, but that there are grounds for compensation if someone is prejudiced disproportionately.

There currently exist arrangements concerning compensation for loss resulting from administrative acts in various acts that concern a specific situation with a limited impact. As this is unclear for legal practice, a general rule has been introduced that offers more clarity.

The second subject is compensation for unlawful decisions. This applies, for example, if the government has to compensate damage because a permit was wrongly refused. Contrary to the case of compensation for loss resulting from administrative acts, this compensation is not an exception but rather the rule and all of the damage has to be compensated.

The division of authority between the various courts is currently complicated for those who wish to claim such compensation. It is hard for citizens to decide what court to apply to in specific cases. The legislative proposal provides clarity concerning the division between the administrative courts and the civil courts. If it concerns damage in the field of social insurance, public service law or taxes, the administrative court will have jurisdiction. In other cases both courts will have jurisdiction up to an amount of € 25,000 (at the discretion of the citizen) and only the civil courts have jurisdiction in cases exceeding that amount.