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Ymre Schuurmans: 'Legislature’s turn in discussion on objection period'

In the aftermath of the childcare benefits affair in the Netherlands, the treatment of citizens by public authorities is more often a subject of discussion. This also applies to the period within which citizens can lodge an objection to a government decision.

Ymre Schuurmans

If you don’t lodge an objection to, for instance, a WOZ assessment within six weeks, you’re out of luck: the objection will not be dealt with and the government will automatically be considered to be in the right. But if the government misses a deadline, it’s done nothing wrong. This needs to change, say some legal experts. 

On Dutch news programme Nieuwsuur (item starts at 31:25) Professor of Administrative and Constitutional Law Ymre Schuurmans spoke about the six-week objection period. 'If you don’t lodge an objection within that period, your objection is inadmissible. So your objection or appeal will not be considered on its merits. You’re too late and therefore the content of the decision is final.’

Does the period to object need to be extended? 'That’s something for the legislature’,  says Schuurmans. 'If the law states that there is a six-week objection period, a court cannot say that twelve weeks is fairer or better. Such an approach has to come from the legislature.'

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