Speaking Frisian is a right at court in the North of the Netherlands. However, there is still much room for improvement in practice, many lawyers say.
“Doug Guha Verhaal Mar in Frisk“, the judge addressed the nervous man. His lawyer Bukce Koy saw her client relax. “It was very important for him to be able to tell his story in his native language. I thanked the judge more for that.
Speaking Frisian has been legally regulated since 2014: every Frisian speaker can speak their own language, the second national language, before the Court of Arnhem-Leuwarden and the Court of North Holland (which has courts in Groningen, Leeuwarden and Assen). According to this court's figures, this happens in about 150 cases every year.
However, speaking Frisian is still a must on paper, many lawyers say. They want this right to be permanently protected. For example, Bökçe Köy, who handles many divorce cases, is a strong supporter of requiring judges and prosecutors at the North-Holland Court to take a course in “Frisian in legal matters.”
Chief Justice Fred van der Winkel is not prepared to do so. He believes that the language course offered by the Frisian Training Institute and the publishing house, which new court employees “should be prepared” to follow, is good enough. Van der Winkel doesn't want any commitment. “It's about people being able to understand Frisian and learning it well there.” There's something more, he explains. “All courts suffer from a shortage of staff. So imposing too many obligations does not help fill vacancies.”
Cui says he often feels that the judge does not understand the Frisian language. Then he said to a Frisian speaker: You speak Dutch too, don't you? “You depend on the judge, so you switch to Dutch.” Lawyer Annalies Outhuijse believes that the rights of Frisian speakers are being violated in this way. She also believes that switching to Dutch does not benefit the quality of the judiciary: “Frisian speakers are sometimes less able to express themselves in Dutch. It's just like English. Can we talk about an emotionally charged topic well in English under a lot of pressure?” “This is difficult. Nuance, while important, is lost. Especially during hearings.”
Outhuijse wants all “Frisian-speaking” business to take place in Leeuwarden and for all employees there to understand Frisian. Van der Winkel might be interested in the former, but practice gets in the way. “It is not possible because the cases are distributed among the three courts according to certain regulations.”
“You have the right to speak Frisian here.”
A Frisian speaker who has to appear in court must formally notify eight days in advance that he or she wishes to speak Frisian during the hearing. In this case an interpreter can be arranged. But, Koi says, “Speaking Frisian is a right, not a favour.” In principle, advance announcement will not be necessary. There are signs everywhere in the courtroom: “It's time to talk to the Friesian“(You have the right to speak Frisian here).
Which Row This also applies to Assen and Groningen. He confirms that the president of the North Holland Court, Fred van der Winkel, will arrange the matter if one of the suspects wants to speak Frisian. “Just like when someone speaks Spanish. But that has to be pointed out eight days in advance. But the sticking point is that the interpreters have been on strike for some time to demand higher hourly wages. So what does he do now?” “Then I will make sure the judge understands the language.” Frisian will hear the case.” What he sees as unnecessary is that all communications from the court must be sent in both languages. “This creates an enormous administrative burden and is of little use in Assen and Groningen. “This costs a lot of taxpayer money, which is already wasted.”
Frisian is in danger of becoming a spoken language
The Frisian language suffers from a Increase Dutch. Often, the Frisians themselves no longer know the correct words in their own language. Therefore, there is an urgent need for well-trained teachers, but now the only Phrysics teacher has disappeared.
Zombie specialist. Friendly twitter guru. Internet buff. Organizer. Coffee trailblazer. Lifelong problem solver. Certified travel enthusiast. Alcohol geek.