Dutch ‘ZSM Settlements’ in the Face of Procedural Justice:
The Sooner the Better?



The Dutch  ‘ZSM’ project was launched in March 2011 and implemented nationwide in 2013. Its (official) aim is to (conclusively) deal with frequently occurring crime (cases) in a rapid, astute, selective, simple and society-oriented way, paying due attention to the interests of defendants, victims and society alike. The underlying assumption of the ZSM – and its accompanying focus on the speedy (out-of-court) resolution of criminal cases that do not (necessarily) merit the attention of the courts –  is that ‘speed’ is beneficial to all involved: to defendants, to victims, to the police (and the Prosecution Service) and to society as such. The question that concerns the authors is whether that assumption is correct. Does a speedy (out-of-court) resolution indeed do justice to all involved, and particularly defendants and (purported) victims? In this contribution, the Dutch ZSM process and its focus on the speedy out-of-court resolution is analyzed from the perspective of both the requirements of Article 6 of the European Convention and the social-scientific notion of procedural justice.


ZSM settlementsArticle 6 ECHRprocedural justice
  • Page/Article: 73-85
  • DOI: 10.18352/ulr.291
  • Published on 20 Nov 2014
  • Peer Reviewed