Supreme Court Litigation - BarentsKrans

The proceedings before the Dutch Supreme Court

There are several stages to the preliminary ruling proceedings before the Supreme Court.

  • After the Supreme Court receives a reference for a preliminary ruling, it briefly examines whether the questions referred are suited to being answered in the form of a preliminary ruling. The Supreme Court is advised by the Procurator General in this regard.
  • The parties are then allowed six weeks to submit written comments. These must be filed with the Supreme Court by a lawyer.
  • After this written phase, the documents are sent to the Procurator General’s Office at the Supreme Court, after which, in most cases, the Advocate-General issues an opinion on behalf of the Procurator General. The parties are then allowed fourteen days to respond to this opinion.
  • After the opinion has been issued, the Cause List Judge sets a date for the decision. At this point, the Supreme Court may rephrase the questions referred to enable adequate answers to be given to them. If this rephrasing is sufficiently substantial, the parties will be given the opportunity to comment on it.

The Supreme Court maintains a list of preliminary ruling proceedings pending before it. It describes the status of the proceedings in addition to setting out the questions referred for a preliminary ruling.

Time limit for issuing preliminary ruling proceedings

The Supreme Court places high priority on preliminary ruling proceedings. On average, they take between six to twelve months. However, no fixed deadlines apply. After the Supreme Court has issued its decision, the District Court or Court of Appeal proceedings can then continue, taking account of the preliminary ruling.