New Code of Criminal Procedure enters into force April 1, 2029

The Ministry of Justice and Security, together with the partners in the criminal justice chain, has set April 1, 2029, as the date for the new Code of Criminal Procedure to enter into force. This will give the partners at least three years to diligently implement the new and extensive code, after the House of Representatives has approved the texts for the new code. Minister for Legal Protection Franc Weerwind and Minister of Justice and Security Dilan Yeşilgöz informed the Senate and House of Representatives of the date by letter today.

Minister Weerwind: "The Code of Criminal Procedure contains the tools and regulations for a fair criminal process for all citizens. It is the basis for how we protect citizens and identify and adjudicate suspects. As such, it is an essential foundation of our rule of law. By renewing it, we ensure that the code remains current and clear, but this is a large-scale operation. Together with all parties involved, we are therefore taking our time to diligently implement the new code."

Future-proof and accessible

The Code of Criminal Procedure contains the regulations to which police, prosecutors, judges and lawyers must adhere in the pursuit of truth in the criminal process: from the identification of suspects to the enforcement of sentencing. The current Code of Criminal Procedure dates from 1926 and is not equipped to deal with new forms of crime such as cybercrime and subversive crime. In addition, numerous amendments have made the code confusing and inaccessible, and it does not incorporate important rulings by the highest court in the Netherlands.

The new Code of Criminal Procedure is accessible, comprehensible and future proof. With the revision, the position of suspects and victims becomes clearer and stronger. In the new code, investigative powers have been simplified and updated, so that new forms of crime can also be combated effectively. It also incorporates important case law and enables digital criminal proceedings.

Submission to the House of Representatives

Over the past ten years, preparations for the texts of the new code have been carried out in cooperation with the police, the special investigation services, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, the Public Prosecution Service, the Judiciary and members of the legal profession. The implementing organisations Central Judicial Collection Agency, Custodial Institutions Agency, Probation Service, Victim Support Netherlands and the Child Protection Council are also involved. The first enactment act of the new code, containing Books 1 to 6, was submitted to the House of Representatives in March 2023. Books 7 and 8 and the first supplementary law are expected to be submitted to the House of Representatives in late 2024 and early 2025. Following consideration and approval by the House of Representatives, relevant parties will have at least three years for implementation.

Diligent implementation

Implementation will require staff training and the adaptation of work processes and ICT systems. Organisations within the criminal justice chain are independently responsible for the implementation of the code, but also seek cooperation with one another in this respect and coordinate their work. The implementing parties are given the time and resources to diligently implement this complex and extensive project. In close consultation with the partners, an implementation period has been adopted extending to March 2029, after which the new code will enter into force on April 1, 2029.