The 'Rotterdamse Schaal'


On behalf of the Dutch Council for the Judiciary, Marnix Hebly, Associate Professor of Private Law at Erasmus School of Law, and Siewert Lindenbergh, Professor of Private Law at Erasmus School of Law, investigate the possibilities of standardisation in determining damages for the settlement of claims by the injured party in criminal proceedings. In extension, they examine whether bringing order to the amounts awarded in the Netherlands as compensation for non-material damages in cases of injury and other personal violations is possible. They do this by referring to the English Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, a set of guidelines that has been used in England for decades and organises amounts per type of injury in an orderly manner. 


The concrete reason for this research is the proposal of the Commission Donner to promote the establishment of a 'manageable concept of damages' within the framework of criminal proceedings through standardization and normalization. This advice is given against the background of a substantial increase in the facilitation of settling compensation claims within the framework of criminal proceedings over the past decades. This facilitation has not only led to an increase in the number of claims filed within the criminal process but also to diverse rulings on their settlement, which are not always explainable on substantive grounds and sometimes even give the impression of arbitrariness. Currently, the highest amounts awarded as compensation for non-material damages by criminal judges and civil judges vary substantially, despite material civil law serving as a benchmark: the highest amount awarded by a criminal judge is now 350,000 euros, while the highest amount awarded by a civil judge is now 200,000 euros. Moreover, criminal judges seem to handle the admissibility criterion in various ways: one judge appears to be more 'receptive' than another, which ultimately could lead to inequality. 


The research conducted by Hebly and Lindenbergh on behalf of the Dutch Council for the Judiciary consists of two parts. Firstly, it involves exploring the possibilities of simplified methods of determining damages by the criminal judge in criminal proceedings. The motto for this exploration is to 'do what is possible' to better settle compensation claims in criminal proceedings and to make clear(er) choices in that light. Because differences in judicial opinions are particularly noted regarding the determination of non-material damages, and opportunities and 'momentum' for a form of standardization seem to exist precisely in this area, the research examines whether the organization of non-material damages in the Guidelines can also be translated into a 'Rotterdamse Schaal' in the Dutch context. This could serve as a basis for a more structured estimation of non-material damages. Click here for the (preliminary) research results.

The project is expected to be completed by mid-2025. 

Associate professor
More information

Read more about the research on Rotterdamse Schaal

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes