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, cases of administrative law and trademark related cases. 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 of Aruba that is also part of the Court of Appeal.
The Trademark Act provides for an opposition procedure via the Court in First Instance of Aruba via a dedicated extra judicial procedure. This recourse does not prevent a party to initiate a regular civil action based on tort.
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.
Cases in the Supreme Court
Most decisions of the court of appeal may be appealed "in cassatie" to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands in The Hague. Decisions of the Supreme Court are final and do not address the facts of the case, but only points of law: whether the decision was based on the right legal grounds and properly motivated. The legal basis for those appeals is the Regulation of 20 July 1961, Stb. 1961, 212, titled the "Cassatieregeling Nederlandse Antillen" ("Appeals Regulations of the Netherlands Antilles"), later renamed "Cassatieregeling Nederlandse Antillen en Aruba".
One distinction between the appeals procedure in the Netherlands and that of the Caribbean territories is that when a judgment of a Netherlands court is overturned by the Supreme Court, the case is generally remanded to a different court at the lower level for purposes of rendering a new decision. Because the Joint Court is the only court at its level, it will rehear its own cases after being overruled.