Tussen partijautonomie en ongelijkheidscompensatie: Hoe kantonrechters omgaan met niet-vertegenwoordigde partijen.

J. Hoevenaars, Tussen partijautonomie en ongelijkheidscompensatie: Hoe kantonrechters omgaan met niet-vertegenwoordigde partijen [Between party autonomy and inequality compensation: How Dutch subdistrict judges deal with unrepresented parties], Recht der Werkelijkheid 2021, p. 16-40

25 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2022 Last revised: 3 Apr 2024

Date Written: November 22, 2021

Abstract

English Abstract:  This paper focuses on the impact of the (increasing) possibility for parties in Dutch civil cases to litigate without the guidance of a legal aid provider on Dutch civil procedure. It analyses the extent to which such self-representation influences the role of the judge in the context of Dutch subdistrict court procedures, where representation is not mandatory. Through empirical data, collected through semi- structured interviews with 26 subdistrict judges, more insight is gained into the dilemmas that the lack of representation of parties presents to judges, and the ways in which they deal with these dilemmas. The interviews show how judges seek a balance between their role as neutral arbitrator in a dispute and a more active role necessitated by parties not being represented by a legal aid provider. In doing so, they navigate between process and content. Within this dynamic, judges must constantly balance the trade-off between acting more actively to gather sufficient information for a substantive handling and assessment of the case, on the one hand, and safeguarding the limits of party autonomy and their own (perceived) neutrality, on the other. Full party autonomy is viewed by judges as unrealistic and, moreover, contrary to truth-finding.

Note: Downloadable document is in Dutch.

Keywords: Self-representation, Party autonomy, Equality of arms, Judging, Civil procedure

JEL Classification: K41, K36, K31, K12

Suggested Citation

Hoevenaars, Jos, Tussen partijautonomie en ongelijkheidscompensatie: Hoe kantonrechters omgaan met niet-vertegenwoordigde partijen. (November 22, 2021). J. Hoevenaars, Tussen partijautonomie en ongelijkheidscompensatie: Hoe kantonrechters omgaan met niet-vertegenwoordigde partijen [Between party autonomy and inequality compensation: How Dutch subdistrict judges deal with unrepresented parties], Recht der Werkelijkheid 2021, p. 16-40, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4053355

Jos Hoevenaars (Contact Author)

Erasmus School of Law ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA
Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3023AS
Netherlands

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