New legislation as of 1 July 2023

New legislation has entered into force on 1 July 2023. Below is an overview of these laws, insofar as they relate to Justice and Security.

Amendment to the Penal Code in connection with the increase of the maximum sentence for manslaughter

As of 1 July, the maximum prison sentence for manslaughter will be increased from 15 to 25 years. In 2006, an amendment to the Criminal Maximum Sentence Reassessment Act (Wet herijking wettelijke strafmaxima) increased the maximum term of temporary imprisonment as an alternative to life imprisonment from 20 to 30 years, for the purposes of reducing the gap between this sentence and life imprisonment. As a result, the maximum sentence for homicide was increased to 30 years. Raising the maximum for manslaughter to 25 years restores the balance between manslaughter and homicide. The difference in the maximum sentence will again amount to 5 years, as per the original difference. This increases the discretionary powers of judges to sentence appropriately in very severe manslaughter cases, if necessary.

Criminalisation of possession of instructional materials on the sexual abuse of children

The Penal Code will be broadened by the addition of a new criminal provision that independently criminalises preparatory acts with the intention of sexually abusing children. This criminalisation will prohibit the distribution, acquisition or possession of a manual containing tips and tricks for the sexual abuse of children. The offence will be punishable by a term of imprisonment of no more than four years.

Bill against marital captivity

The bill to counter marital captivity enables the court to provide for an arrangement ordering a spouse to cooperate in the dissolution of a religious marriage during divorce proceedings. The law also stipulates that, in principle, marriage partners are obliged to cooperate with the dissolution of a religious marriage should the other partner requests this. With this, the government aims to combat marital captivity.

Decree on random advertising for remote gambling

As of 1 July, random advertising for online gambling will be banned. The ban aims to better protect vulnerable groups, including youth, from the risk of gambling addiction. Summarily put, the advertising for online gambling banned as of 1 July relates to radio and TV commercials and billboards in the street. Targeted advertising may still be shown on the internet under strict conditions.

Decree on adjustment of statutory interest

As of 1 July, the statutory interest rate will be adjusted from 4% to 6%. Statutory interest is compensation for non-payment or late payment of a monetary claim. Unpaid claims may be increased by statutory interest. Citizens with claims receive statutory interest as compensation; citizens with debts pay statutory interest as compensation for non-payment. By law, the level of statutory interest must be assessed every six months based on the ECB rate. This has risen by more than 2% since the previous increase. The statutory interest rate is therefore now also increased by 2%.

Amendment of the Judicial Officers (Legal Status) Act in connection with the amendment of the consensus requirement in article 51 of the Wrra

The consensus requirement and many general substantive provisions in the Judicial Officers (Legal Status) Act (Wet rechtspositie rechterlijke ambtenaren; “Wrra”), have ceased to be applicable. The consensus requirement stipulates that amendments to a legal status regulation, insofar as a judicial official can derive rights and obligations from it, are only implemented if an agreement is reached on them with the Judiciary Sector Committee (Sectorcommissie rechterlijke macht). The legal status of the individual judicial official is not affected by this requirement no longer being applicable, as this involves a technical transposition into law.