The quality of the administration of justice by courts is being discussed in many countries. The lengthy duration of court proceedings in particular is considered to be a problem in the Netherlands. This article presents the results of a large-scale research project into the opinions of litigant parties concerning the duration of administrative court proceedings in the Netherlands. Research was also carried out into the influence on the duration of court proceedings as a result of both the conduct of litigant parties and the characteristics of district courts. There are a number of factors, in particular the presence of significant backlogs of unfinished cases at the district court that have been proven to be responsible for delaying court proceedings. This provides a starting point for the formulation of several recommendations to speed up court proceedings. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.