Burenrechter changing the face of neighbour disputes, says Dutch broadcaster

Burenrechter, a project developed by HiiL, is getting media attention,

There will be a special judge for neighbour disputes, reports Dutch broadcaster NOS. Neighbours with a conflict can, as of next year, bring their case to a new website: burenrechter.nl.

The initiative has been developed for and by the court system for Midden-Nederland and Amsterdam.

The new neighbour judge will primarily work online. In this way, problems like boundary disputes and noisy pets can be resolved more quickly. Two courts will pilot the new procedure.

Someone who has a problem with their neighbour goes to the site. Their neighbour is also invited to login. The neighbour judge restores and supports their dialogue. Online.

A judge reads along on the website while the neighbours are communicating but also visits them at their homes. "He will try to to help the neighbours to find a solution that works for both so problems can really be solved", comments website rechtspraak.nl reporting itself on the initiative.

It is expected that the new procedure will take three to four months. After the procedure ended, the judge stays involved the background. Currently such cases take about a year.

Dutch judges deal with about 4000 neighbour-related lawsuits every year. Current procedures often split neighbours further apart, says judge Rogier Hartendorp on rechtspraak.nl. "Neighbours are forced in this way to focus on competing claims and their different perspectives, not on what unites them. This is what burenrechter.nl does quite differently."