Netherlands breaks in-house deadlock

IN-HOUSE lawyers in the Netherlands will be invited to join the local Bar for the first time in the history of the profession after negotiations between the government and the Bar resulted in the drafting of new rules.

Bar president Tom de Waard said the compromise had been reached earlier this month after the Bar heard a government proposal that employed lawyers should be admitted after satisfying a clause covering political independence.

De Waard said that at present employed lawyers were not admitted as members because of a belief among the profession that their independence was “questionable”.

However, he said the government had established a working party to examine the issue and the group had found in support of amended rules of membership.

“We have now reviewed our position and we found that if you provide regulation by the Bar which asks the lawyer's employer to guarantee the independent professional work of the in-house lawyer that they could become members,” said de Waard.

“We expect that we would now need at least a year to draw up these regulations.”

He said in-house lawyers would still be expected to meet the Bar's current quality assurance rules, as well as agreeing to a three-year period of mandatory supervision by an older lawyer at the outset of a legal career.