Dutch MPs moot plan to counter 'baffling' court speak

The Hague (AFP) –


Progressive Dutch lawmakers Tuesday presented an action plan aimed at untangling notoriously complicated legal jargon and court language used by local judges, said to be "incomprehensible" to parts of the population.

"Complex laws, complicated judgements and legal jargon creates mistrust. Judges' verdicts should be understood by everybody," the D66 party said in a statement.

Maarten Groothuizen, D66 parliamentarian and driver of the plan which seeks equality in justice, added that education, language and social origins also should not affect citizens' equal standing before the law.

"Trust begins with mutual understanding which means that judgements must be handed down in clear and understandable language," he said.

"A trial is already a puzzle in itself for the people involved," Groothuizen added.

D66 now aims to get judgements published to the B1 European common reference standard, which means that users are beyond a basic understanding, or A levels, but not yet proficient.

The centre-left party, which forms part of a ruling four-party coalition in the Dutch parliament, also advocates for more diversity in the ranks of Dutch judges.

"Our society is diverse, with more than 12 percent of the Dutch population of non-Western origins, compared to only two percent" of around 2,300 judges, Groothuizen said.

The plan is now to be debated when the Dutch parliament convenes in early September after the summer recess.

Figures published by the Dutch Central Statistics office last year showed that more than half of citizens with a non-Western background were from Turkish or Moroccan descent.