NOvA, the Dutch Bar, has extended the subsidy for trainee lawyers working in social law firms

NOvA, the Dutch Bar, has extended the subsidy scheme for trainee lawyers working in socially- minded law firms. The scheme was first introduced in 2020 and reached its full allocation, with 175 lawyers making use of it. The scheme finances the training costs of lawyers seeking to work in a socially based law firm.

The subsidy scheme will be made available for the first time this year. The evaluation of the scheme  shows that trainee lawyers from all over the country and with various specializations have made use of the scheme. This demonstrates that the scheme contributes to good national coverage of social lawyers.

The scheme came back into action on 14th April and is expected to reach another 175 lawyers seeking to train in a social law firm.

Read the full article here.

NOvA, the Dutch Bar, is using the DilemmApp to increase awareness of ethics and compliance issues amongst lawyers

The Dutch Bar is using an app called DilemmApp as a tool for increasing awareness and insight into ethics and compliance issues for its members. The App confronts the user with a dilemma in which they have to make a judgment call about the best course of action.

After 2 weeks, NOvA posts its final remarks on the dilemma alongside the reactions of other users. This then provides a platform for lawyers to see other courses of action that could be taken to broaden their thinking on different ethical and compliance issues they face whilst undertaking their role.

Read the full article here.

Nederlandse Orde Van Advocaten, the Dutch bar, has set up a taskforce to increase support for lawyers facing risks of being used by organised crime

Nederlandse Orde Van Advocaten has set up a taskforce to better protect those working within the legal profession against threats from organised crime and illicit finance. The taskforce aims to increase the rule of law, awareness of the legal profession and improve the security of lawyers by increasing their resilience and improving safety measures.

This taskforce has been set up as an alternative to proposals which aim to deal with these issues in ways that are contrary to the rule of law, for example by restricting the free choice of lawyers and reducing the rights of suspects.

The taskforce will focus on improving the information available to lawyers based on research about the threats from organised crime and how it is targeting the profession, and on creating channels for lawyers to discuss potential threats and issues without breaching confidentiality. The taskforce will also look at whether current regulations need to be adapted whilst also ensuring that  violations by lawyers are still effecively reported to the supervising authority.

The taskforce will be looking to cooperate with other legal regulators to identify signs of attempts by organised crime to subvert the profession both domestically and internationally.

Read the full article here.

The legal Aid Board in the Netherlands is to begin a subsidy scheme experiment for divorce cases

The legal Aid Board in the Netherlands will begin a subsidy scheme experiment for complex divorce cases. The scheme will begin in February 2022 with the aim of uncovering how best to assist litigants in complex divorce cases, with a view to providing high quality legal aid assistance after an appropriate fee has been agreed.

Read the full article here.

The legal Aid Board in the Netherlands is to begin a subsidy scheme experiment for divorce cases

The legal Aid Board in the Netherlands will begin a subsidy scheme experiment for complex divorce cases. The scheme will begin in February 2022 with the aim of uncovering how best to assist litigants in complex divorce cases, with a view to providing high quality legal aid assistance after an appropriate fee has been agreed.

Read the full article here.

The Dutch Bar Association will run resilience training for lawyers in 2022 after the 2021 offerings proved popular

The resilience training courses for lawyers in The Netherlands run by the Dutch Bar Association were so popular they’re running them again in 2022 for a new cohort, running a new series of 500 training courses.

These courses aim to teach lawyers the skills required to deal with aggression and threats that they may face in their daily practice. As part of these training courses are the provision of a Professional Groups Contact Point lawyers can ring after suffering a threat or if they have questions about their safety.

Read the full article here.

Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten launches a self-assessment tool for lawyer CPD

The Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten (NOvA) has launched a self-assessment tool designed to assist lawyers with CPD. The online platform is entirely voluntary, to use, and allows lawyers to assess their own progress on metrics of expertise, interaction and attitude. This allows them to reflect on their own professional development, and to identify areas of improvement.

Lawyers who complete the assessment will receive one CPD point, with the assessment estimated to take around an hour. The digital assessment fits into NOvA’s wider digital development, including the DillemAp an ap which raises various ethical questions to practitioners, creating a forum for discussion around ethics and practice.

Theda Boersema , member of the general council said: “How do you stand in your work, what are your motives, where are the pitfalls and how can you continue to improve yourself? Within an hour, the self-assessment will give you insightful insight into this. It is not a test, there is no right or wrong. It is mainly intended to increase your ethical awareness and sharpen your craftsmanship. ”

Read more about the tool here, or view the tool here.

Netherlands and Denmark both considering changes to non-lawyer ownership rules

Both the Netherlands and Denmark have made announcements signalling a move towards implementing non-lawyer ownership.

The Netherlands Bar Association (NOvA) has announced a 5-year experiment, which would allow lawyers in the non-lawyer run SRK legal aid organisation to deliver non-legal services. NOvA has said that the move is coming as part of a broader investigation into a possible ‘new system of regulations regarding permitted corporate structures for lawyers’. The sandbox-style experiment is capped at 5 years per organisation, with NOvA saying that other organisations are welcome to apply.

The move does not come out of the blue. The Dutch competition authority (ACM) had been putting pressure on NOvA to amend rules in order to improve market conditions.

In related news the Danish Competition Council has released a report analyzing competition in the legal profession. The report has found that the industry had a turnover of NOK 14.7 billion in 2018 and just over 1,800 firms. It also discovered that almost 70% of the turnover in the industry was generated by corporate clients, with only 11% being consumer work.

Based on this the Competition Council has presented 16 recommendations that can strengthen competition in legal services, providing improved access to justice. Amongst these recommendations is the inclusion of new business models, in the legal sector.

Read more about the Dutch changes here, or the Danish changes here. 

The Netherlands introduces digital litigation in civil and administrative law

New plans unveiled by the Council for the Judiciary (Rvdr) which are designed to enable digital litigation in civil and administrative law have been approved by the ICT Testing Office (BIT) and Sander Dekker, the Minister for Legal Protection.

The new approach, known as the Basisplan digitaal procederen civiel en bestuursrecht (basic plan for digital litigation for civil and administrative law), will make it possible to submit cases and exchange documents digitally. As well as this correspondence with the judiciary and the viewing of case files has been digitised.

The updated plans follow in the footsteps of digitisation in criminal cases and asylum and detention cases.

Read more about the plans here (Dutch) 


Netherlands Bar Association launches research into innovation and digitalization in the legal profession

More than 1,300 lawyers participated in the recent NOvA survey on strategy, innovation and digitization. The results will be published after the summer. The survey is part of a broader investigation into developments affecting the future of the legal profession in the Netherlands, which the NOvA is expected to complete by the end of this year.

Changes in society such as globalization, digitization and increased cost awareness can have consequences for the administration of justice and the activities of lawyers in it. The adjustment to these developments can demand a lot from individual lawyers. Because of the essential function in a democratic constitutional state, the NOvA wants to contribute to the future-proof nature of the legal profession.

With the research into the digitization and competitive strength of the legal profession, the NOvA wants to map which developments are important for lawyers (offices). In addition to the survey, we conduct desk research, visit lawyers and organize group discussions.

With the survey, the NOvA wants to gain insight into the themes that are relevant to lawyers (offices), as well as their needs, possibilities and barriers to innovating their practice. Moreover, the results can show the extent to which the legal profession prepares for changes in the legal services with regard to the organization and digitization of the law firm.

Through (group) discussions with lawyers and law firm employees, a better picture is obtained of the state of affairs of the Dutch legal profession. This includes opportunities and threats, the changing needs and expectations of customers and the role of regulation. The working method of progressive law firms is further analyzed.

Finally, an assessment is made of the impact of developments on the proper administration of justice. With the results of the research, the NOvA wants to determine which task and assignment it has. Depending on this, the NOvA will then develop policy on this.

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