The Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and of Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba is responsible for the administration of justice in first instance and in appeal on the islands. The Joint Court of Justice consists of a presiding judge, the other members, and their substitutes. The members of the Joint Court of Justice deal, in first instance and in appeal, with civil cases, criminal cases, and cases of administrative law (tax law among others).

The Court in First Instance
A case that is dealt with in court for the first time generally falls under the jurisdiction of the Court in First Instance, which is an organizational part of the Court of Appeal. One judge generally deals with cases in first instance. The Court in First Instance of the Netherlands Antilles has its seat in Curaçao and has jurisdiction in all the islands. There are also sessions in all the islands. There is a Court in First Instance for Aruba that is also part of the Court of Appeal.
 

Cases in Appeal
The Joint Court of Justice handles cases in appeal that were dealt with and decided on by the Courts in First Instance. A judge who handled a case in first instance will not participate when the case is dealt with in appeal. Three members of the Court deal with the cases in appeal. Those judges then make up the Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and of Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba. So, this name denotes both the whole of the judicial system of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and of Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba (including the Courts in First Instance) as well as the higher court of appeal by itself (hereafter ‘the Court of Appeal’). There are some exceptional cases where the Court of Appeal also handles cases in first instance with more than one judge.
 

Judicial tribunals
The members of the Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and of Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba also work together in judicial tribunals, such as the Board of Appeal in the Arbitration Court for Civil Servants and the Board of Appeal in Tax Cases.
 

What is the Court in First Instance?

A case that is dealt with in court for the first time falls under the jurisdiction of the Court in First Instance. Such cases are generally handled by one judge.

A case in appeal is handled by 3 judges. These judges together make up the Court of Appeal. This name also denotes the whole of the judicial system.

Joint Court of Justice of
Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and
of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
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