The judiciary is independent and the judges irremovable except for malfeasance or incapacity. Roman law still is basic, but the judicial system is largely patterned on that of France. There is no jury system, and the state rather than the individual acts as initiator of legal proceedings. Administrative justice is separate from civil and criminal justice and not uniform in dispensation.
The supreme judiciary body is the Supreme Court of the Netherlands (Court of Cassation). It is staffed by 35 justices. Its principal task is to supervise administration of justice and to review the judgments of lower courts. There are five courts of appeal (gerechtshoven), which act as courts of first instance only in fiscal matters. They are divided into chambers of three justices each. The 19 district courts (arrondissementsrechtsbanken) deal as courts of first instance with criminal cases and civil cases not handled by the 61 sub-district courts. Most of these courts are manned by single magistrates. In 2002, the sub-district courts were incorporated administratively into the district courts; a subdistrict court section is now formed at these courts. There also are juvenile courts and special arbitration courts (for such institutions as the Stock Exchange Association and professional organizations).