New legislation as of 1 January 2019
An overview of the most significant legislation coming into effect.
Closure of premises associated with drugs
Mayors may close down residential and other premises in the event that objects or substances are found which are clearly intended for the cultivation or preparation of drugs, such as certain types of equipment (drug laboratory equipment, cocaine washing equipment), chemicals (APAAN, hydrochloric acid) or adulterants. This is currently possible only where drugs are found or are being sold or supplied on the premises. This law is a result the coalition agreement and is the first measure to be introduced as part of the legislative programme intended to counter subversive criminality.
Netherlands Commercial Court
With the agreement of the parties, complex international trade disputes may be adjudicated in English by the new international Netherlands Commercial Court (of Appeal), or NCC(A), in Amsterdam. Judgements of the NCC(A) will also be given in English.
The Forensic Care Act (Wfz: Wet forensische zorg) will be introduced in phases. From 1 January 2019 the Minister for Legal Protection will have greater opportunities to direct the quality of forensic care. The Minister will also have increased powers to intervene in relation to detention centres, where safety is at risk. The exchange of information between the Ministry of Public Affairs, the Office for the Resettlement of Offenders and providers of forensic care will also be able to exchange information more easily.
Vehicle registration details from vehicles passing an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera may be retained for a period of four weeks. ANPR plays an important role in the detection of serious crime, where it is found only at a later stage that information about a vehicle is of significance. This may for example be the case with ram-raiding, abduction, human trafficking and terrorism. ANPR can also be of assistance when seeking to detain fleeing suspects or convicts. Strict rules apply to the deployment of cameras and the use of the ANPR data.
Compensation for emotional loss for relatives of victims
Relatives of victims who have died or suffered serious or permanent injury through the fault of another will be entitled to compensation for emotional loss (also referred to as bereavement damages). This is compensation for loved ones with whom the victim shared his or her life, and who have suffered grief on account of what has happened to the victim. For example a child may have been involved in a traffic accident, resulting in life-long disability, or a partner may have died due to a medical error or violent crime.
Modernisation of bankruptcy proceedings
The procedure has been revised to facilitate the winding up of bankruptcies. For example it will soon be possible to take advantage of the potential of digital working methods. This will reduce the societal costs resulting from a bankruptcy. The Official Receiver and the Examining Judge will also have more room to consider the individual circumstances of a case. There will also be improvements to the insolvency register. Any measures to make the procedure speedier and more efficient will be of substantial benefit to all those involved.
Disciplinary sanctions against judges
There has also been an expansion of the possibilities available for the imposition of appropriate disciplinary measures in the event of improper conduct on the part of judges, including for example a written reprimand by the Supreme Court or disciplinary suspension.