In case you have legal issues in the Netherlands or need to take legal action, there are many ways that you can find help in The Hague area. Learn how to find a lawyer in the Netherlands and about free legal advice.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Minor civil cases, such as those relating to rent, consumer disputes, and employment, are handled in the ‘sub-district sector’ by a single judge, and you don’t need a lawyer.
With criminal law cases, legal representation is not an official requirement, but a lawyer is always assigned to anyone taken into police custody.
In most other cases, for example at the District Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, you must have a lawyer to represent you in court. Finding a lawyer is especially important if the other party involved in the case is employing one too.
Free and Low-Cost Legal Help in The Hague
The Municipality of The Hague offers free legal assistance with a legal advisor if you need help or advice regarding a legal matter. These advisors may
- give advice about legislation and regulations,
- help you write letters and objections (e.g., about paying taxes or fines),
- provide information or advice on topics related to housing, work, education, and income,
- mediate if you have problems with official entities (such as government organisations),
- or recommend other organisations that can help you.
To seek help, make an appointment with a legal advisor.
You can also speak to the Juridisch Loket for free advice on a variety of legal topics. They can recommend a lawyer or mediator and tell you if it’s possible to receive subsidised legal assistance.
Subsidised legal assistance is paid (at least partly) by the government, for people whose income is below a set threshold. Find out more from the Raad voor Rechtsbijstanden, the Legal Aid Board. In case you are not able to receive this, you can also take out legal aid insurance.
Finding a Lawyer
If your situation requires you to have a lawyer, you can talk to the Netherlands Bar Association or ask for a recommendation from the Juridisch Loket. Lawyers’ services cost money, but some offer a free first consultation.
Mediators are used more and more often in the Netherlands for divorces and other legal cases. They can help to resolve a case without going to court. Mediators’ services are normally paid by both parties involved unless agreed otherwise. The fees tend to cost much less than taking a case to court.
If you don’t speak Dutch well, you may need the services of an interpreter in court. The government keeps a list of official, sworn interpreters and translators for this purpose. For some situations, such as criminal cases, only these interpreters can be used.