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If you intend to set up as a lawyer in the Netherlands, you are obliged to submit a registration request to the district court where you want to establish your office. You will be sworn in if you satisfy the training requirements prescribed by the Counsel Act (Advocatenwet) and if you possess a Certificate of good conduct (VOG). After you have been sworn in, your details will be included in the National Register of Lawyers (Landelijk Advocaten Tableau) kept by the Netherlands Bar Association (Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten).
During the first three years after your registration, you follow the three-year Professional Education Programme for the Legal Profession (Beroepsopleiding Advocaten). For more information about this programme, please contact CPO/Dialogue.
Simultaneously you start working as a trainee lawyer under the supervision of an experienced lawyer (a principal). You can do this at a law firm, but also at a company or municipal authority, for example. The Supervisory Council must in any event approve the supervisorship. Alternatively, you can become a trainee entrepreneur. In that case, additional conditions may apply.
As a lawyer, your office address must be at one location. If you relocate, you must submit your change of address to Netherlands Bar Association (Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten) (in Dutch). Supplementary regulations apply if you relocate to the jurisdiction of another district court.
Supervision and confidentiality
Within NOvA an independent body exists that supervises all their members to ensure their profesional conduct. Also, lawyers' confidentiality is legally imposed.
Lawyers from EU /EEA countries, and from Switzerland
Are you registered as a lawyer in an EU / EEA country, or in Switzerland? In that case, you can register in the Netherlands under the Professional Qualifications Directive or the Lawyers’ Establishment Directive.
Professional Qualifications Directive
Do you want to register on the basis of the Professional Qualifications Directive? If so, you will have to take a test of professional competence. In addition, you must comply with the requirements of the General Act on the Recognition of EC Professional Qualifications (Algemene wet erkenning EG-beroepskwalificaties) and the Regulations on EC Qualifications for Lawyers (Regeling EG-beroepskwalificaties advocatuur).
Lawyers’ Establishment Directive
Under the Lawyers’ Establishment Directive, you can work as a lawyer in the Netherlands, under your original occupational title (‘home title’). You must register with the Supervisory Council on a separate list. For this purpose, you will need, among other things, proof of registration as a lawyer with the authorised authority in your country of origin. You can request a statement from the Supervisory Council after three years, proving that you have worked in the relevant legal capacity, in the Netherlands. With this statement, you can register as a lawyer in the Netherlands, in the National Register of Lawyers (Landelijk Advocaten Tableau, LAT). You will then no longer have to take a test of professional competence or work as a student.
Under the Services Directive (Dienstenrichtlijn), you can act as a lawyer in the Netherlands on one occasion. In that case, however, you must comply with certain conditions. You must, for example, work with a lawyer registered in the Netherlands.
Consultation of Register of Lawyers
If you are looking for a sworn lawyer, please consult the database 'Find a lawyer' (in Dutch) on the website of the Netherlands Bar Association.
Online registration procedure via Message Box
Using Message Box you can submit requests online to be listed in the National Register of Lawyers kept by the Netherlands Bar Association. Message Box is a secure email system that enables you as an entrepreneur to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies.