European lawyers

European lawyers

General information for European lawyers (produit fini) and European graduates (produit infini)
For graduates,Section 2 of the Act on Advocates means, in brief, that they, when they have obtained (i) the university degrees Bachelor and Master of Laws; or (ii) a doctorate in law; or (iii) the right to use the title of ‘meester’, at a Dutch university, can apply for registration as a lawyer (advocaat). Additionally, based on European law, qualified lawyers and law graduates from another member state of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland have several options to (occasionally) practise or be registered as a lawyer in the Netherlands.

European lawyer (produit fini)
1. Occasional practice under home title
The free movement of services allows a person, who is entitled to pursue his professional activities as a lawyer in another EU member state, the EEA or Switzerland, to practise as a lawyer in another EU member state under the tile used in his home member state (home title), provided that certain conditions are met. This follows from the services directive for lawyers (directive 77/249/EC), which is implemented in the Sections 16a through 16f of the Act on Advocates.

2. Permanent practice under home title
On the basis of the free movement of establishment, a person, who is authorized to pursue his professional activities as a lawyer in another EU member state, the EEA or Switzerland, can practice in the Netherlands under home title This requires presentation of a certificate attesting to his registration with the competent authority in the home member state, after which he will be registered on the tableau. There are certain further conditions, especially with regards to practicing in courts. This follows from the establishment directive for lawyers (directive 98/5/EC), which is implemented in the Sections 16g through 16k of the Act on Advocates.

3. Registration as a Dutch lawyer (advocaat), after three years of effectively and regularly practicing in the Netherlands in Dutch law
After three years of practicing under home title in the Netherlands, as described above under 2., a person, who is authorised to pursue his professional activities in another EU member state, the EEA or Switzerland, may request to register as a Dutch lawyer (advocaat). This requires the presentation of a document that proves that he, for a period of three years, effectively and regularly practiced as a lawyer in the Netherlands in Dutch law. This possibility also arises from the establishment directive for lawyers (directive 98/5/EC) and is implemented in Sections 2a and 2b of the Act on Advocates.

4. Registration as a Dutch lawyer (advocaat), based on EU recognition of professional qualifications
A fully qualified lawyer (produit fini) from one of the EU member states, the EEA or Switzerland may, possibly after successfully completing a required aptitude test, apply for registration as a Dutch lawyer (advocaat). This follows from the directive on the recognition of professional qualifications (directive 2013/55), that is implemented in the Netherlands under Section 2, subsection 1, under c, of the Act on Advocates, the Act on the General Recognition of EU Professional Qualifications and the Regulation on Recognition of EU Professional Qualifications for Lawyers.

For more information and the provision of (request) forms related to items 2.or 4. mentioned here above, you can contact the Netherlands Bar helpdesk (tel. +31 70 335 35 54 / email: helpdesk@advocatenorde.nl).

European graduate (produit infini)
A person who has successfully completed the final examination of a study program in the field of law at a university in an EU member state, the EEA or Switzerland, but is not yet fully qualified to practice as a lawyer in his home member state (produit infini), may apply for registration as a Dutch lawyer (advocaat). The general council will first study the equivalency of the final examination and the acquired professional experience and education and may demand that the applicant completes additional examinations. This follows from Section 2, subsection 4, of the Act on Advocates, which is an effect of the judgment of the EU Court of Justice in the case Morgenbesser (C-313/01)

For questions and/or comments, you can contact the Netherlands Bar helpdesk (tel. +31 70 335 35 54 / email: helpdesk@advocatenorde.nl).

Graduates from outside the EU
A person who has successfully completed a study program in the field of law at a university outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland, still has to complete the degrees of Bachelor and Master of Laws at a Dutch university. Exemption for specific courses may be granted based on diploma accreditation. We advise you to contact the university about this beforehand.