Court president: ‘The truth is hard, and it is now on the table’


That result of the investigation, carried out by bureau Berenschot in response to five incidents in 2019, did not lie. Employees have a deep-seated suspicion, a feeling of social insecurity, while colleagues do not hold each other to account for undesirable behavior.

Culture of fear

This has contributed to a culture of fear that prevails in the court of the Northern Netherlands, and which even led to the departure of court president Maria van de Schepop last year.

“We endorse the conclusions in the report,” says Van der Meer. Although the report does not say there was a culture of fear, as suggested in the media. So there was no fear from above. Which is not to say that people cannot feel fear. People may well have felt socially unsafe in court, or feared for their jobs. “

Clean ship

Yes, Van der Meer agrees: there are hard words in the report. “But we wanted the truth to come out because a clean ship has to be made. Well, that truth is there now, and it is hard. ”

It is now up to Van der Meer to do something about the resulting culture with the report in hand. How will he handle that?

“Talk to each other at a team level,” he says. ‘There are colleagues who find this, just like you have colleagues who do not suffer from it. But I think everyone is responsible for the uneasiness among colleagues. We need to work on that together. In any case, it is important that something actually happens with this report. ‘

Rotten apples

The latter is emphasized by Van der Meer. “This report deserves more. After ten years of internal unrest, we have to make progress and take steps. ”

Or does that mean rotten apples are being removed? Van der Meer: ‘It is always easy to think that it would be a few bad apples. The question is whether this is the case. However, the report states that this is more a structural approach to the court: if you do all day with something you are good at, which is to do justice, then chances are that you will continue to do so after the hearings. And there are colleagues who are bothered by that. ”

Also read:
– ‘The court must invest in transparent communication and open culture’
– ‘Investigation into unrest in the court of the Northern Netherlands costs 100,000 euros’
– Court has extensive research into culture of fear

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