If a defendant and/or the Public Prosecution Service (OM) disagrees with the judgment handed down by the district court, they may lodge an appeal with The Hague Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal will then ask the defendant and/or the Public Prosecution Service to explain what aspect of the district court’s decision they disagree with. Depending on the answer, the Court of Appeal has various options. For example, it can hear the case in its entirety or limit its consideration to an assessment of the penalty imposed by the district court.
If a defendant and/or the Public Prosecution Service disagrees with the Court of Appeal’s judgment, they can institute an appeal in cassation with the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, the highest court in the country. The Supreme Court does not review the substance of the case; it can only assess whether the law has been interpreted and applied correctly and whether the Court of Appeal has given sufficient reasons for its judgment. The Supreme Court may order the Court of Appeal to retry the case, for instance if the latter has made mistakes or if the Supreme Court interprets the law differently from the Court of Appeal. Appeal in cassation is the last opportunity to challenge a judgment in the Netherlands. After that, the defendant and/or the Public Prosecution Service can take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.