International Practice Newsletter

International Practice: 2015

Contingency Fee for Dutch Plaintiff Lawyers

John M. Beer, Esq.
As of January 1, 2014, Dutch plaintiff lawyers can enter into contingency fee contracts with clients in personal injury or wrongful death cases. The Dutch Bar Association has announced this as an experiment which will last at least five years.
 
Dutch lawyers are historically working on an hourly rate basis since the Code of Conduct of the Dutch Bar Association does not allow contingency fee. Consumer organizations have argued for many years that the principal of access to justice should justify that lawyers are permitted to enter into contingency fee contracts with their clients. The Dutch Association of Plaintiff Lawyers (ASP) has supported the view that contingency fee is vital for plaintiffs who want to bring their case to court but have insufficient means to do so under the present Bar rules. ASP president Marco Zwagerman welcomes the experiment as “a step forward to Justice for people.” The discussion has taken more than 10 years. The view of the Dutch Ministry of Justice has been that it should be regarded as unethical for lawyers to work on a contingency fee basis because it would undermine the independent position of lawyers. Now the Ministry has consented to the experiment which starts at the beginning of next year.

 

John M. Beer, Beer Advocaten, Weteringschans 85-87, PO Box 15755, 1017 Amsterdam, The Netherlands; T: 011-31-20-673 2199; beer@beeradvocaten.nl; www.beeradvocaten.nl.