The Dutch Complaint Procedure: A “Picture- Perfect” Procedure?



A Plea for More Research into the Causes of and Solutions for the Challenges of the Dutch Complaint Procedure in Prisons in the Light of Procedural Justice Theory


The aim of this article is to urge the need for (further) research into the experiences of prisoners with the Dutch complaint procedure in prisons. Legally and theoretically speaking, the Dutch complaint procedure is almost “picture-perfect”: it has been set as an example by the ECtHR and has repeatedly received a high approval rating by the CPT. Therefore, it could serve – and is already serving – as an example for other member states of the Council of Europe. However, the Dutch Life in Custody Study shows that prisoners are not satisfied with the way their complaint is dealt with and the procedure is overflowing with complaints. For the Dutch complaint procedure to keep serving as an example for other countries, and at the same time to be able to overcome the challenges it faces today, the causes of and solutions for these challenges should be investigated. We argue that (inter alia) the notion of procedural justice could provide excellent opportunities for further research in this field.


prison lawpenitentiary lawperceived procedural justicecomplaint procedureshuman rights
  • Year: 2022
  • Volume: 18 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 1–13
  • DOI: 10.36633/ulr.711
  • Published on 5 May 2022
  • Peer Reviewed