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Tijdschrift Justitiële verkenningen x Jaar 2009 x
Artikel

Aantallen civiele rechtszaken in Nederland en elders

Een vergelijking in de tijd en in Europa

Tijdschrift Justitiële verkenningen, Aflevering 4 2009
Auteurs E. Niemeijer en C.M. Klein Haarhuis
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    Academic perceptions of litigation rates are dispersed: they vary from observations of a ‘litigation explosion’ to empirical accounts of ‘vanishing trials’. In this article the authors study whether civil trials are increasing or vanishing in the Netherlands. To find out, the authors studied trends in the number of civil cases in the Dutch courts. First, they observed developments in the filings as well as the dispositions of civil cases over the past 25 years, taking into account the trial-likeness of the procedures. Second, they put the Dutch figures - including other indicators of legal activity - in a European perspective. The findings show that the number of court cases in the Netherlands is on the rise. This does not automatically imply, however, that the Netherlands are a highly litigious society. ‘Light’ versions of trials are predominant, as is efficiency in the management of cases. Moreover, the number of lawyers and judges is rather small compared to other European countries.


E. Niemeijer
Prof. dr. mr. Bert Niemeijer is werkzaam bij de directie Algemene Justitiële Strategie van het ministerie van Justitie en is tevens als hoogleraar empirische rechtssociologie verbonden aan de Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

C.M. Klein Haarhuis
Dr. Carolien Klein Haarhuis is als onderzoeker verbonden aan het WODC.

    Trust between people and institutions is essential for the functioning of society. In this paper the author distinguishes trust and confidence. Confidence is the optimism or pessimism of consumers and investors about the future, about the Dutch economy and about the financial situation of their own household. Consumer confidence declined sharply after 2007, with negative consequences for the sales of houses and cars. A low level of trust is threatening for the functioning of institutions and society. Determinants of trust are: competence, stability, integrity, benevolence, transparency, value congruency and reputation. The first four determinants are ‘dissatisfiers’, while the last three are ‘satisfiers’. Financial institutions have to meet the criteria on the first four determinants without a compensation by the last three determinants. The last three determinants offer options for additional profiling, positioning and differentiation. The recovery of confidence will happen sooner than the recovery of trust. Confidence is related to general economic developments. The recovery of trust is a slower process, because of the integrity of persons and institutions. People want to see ‘proofs’ of a changed behaviour before they trust persons and institutions again. This means that a prolonged trust crisis is to be expected, even when confidence is already optimistic.


W.F. van Raaij
Prof. dr. Fred van Raaij is als hoogleraar economische psychologie verbonden aan de Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen van de Universiteit van Tilburg.
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