How to practise in the Netherlands after the Brexit transition period

The UK left the EU single market and customs union at the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.

The EU Lawyers Directives no longer apply to UK solicitors and law firms, and freedom of movement to the EU has come to an end.

Different rules on practising rights, immigration, visa and work permit requirements apply in each EU member state.

Conditions for UK solicitors to practise under home title

UK solicitors can practise in the Netherlands under their home title. There is no requirement to register with the Dutch Bar.

Solicitors can:

  • practise the law of their home country
  • practise public international law
  • represent clients in arbitration, conciliation and mediation
  • appear in court on matters of administrative law
  • appear in court for claims under €25,000

Solicitors cannot:

  • practise Dutch law
  • appear in court without being assisted by a Dutch lawyer except for administrative law or claims under €25,000
  • rely on legal professional privilege (LPP) in Dutch domestic courts, as this only applies to Dutch advocates

Requalifying as a Dutch lawyer after the transition period

There are no nationality, residency or reciprocity requirements for solicitors requalifying as Dutch advocates.

Solicitors would need to complete all of the academic requirements of qualification (a Dutch LLB and master’s in law). However, they may be able to get some course exemptions.

Setting up a law firm after Brexit

Dutch lawyers can partner (share profits and fees) with third-country lawyers if these are members of a professional organisation that is recognised by the Dutch Bar.

The Law Society of England and Wales is a recognised organisation, meaning solicitors can partner with Dutch lawyers.

The Dutch Bar has not raised any issues in relation to UK LLP structures continuing to operate in the Netherlands after the transition period.

All foreign businesses must register with the commercial register, which can be done through a local chamber of commerce.

Resources

Netherlands Bar (Nederlandse orde van advocaten, NOvA)

If you have any questions, email our international team at international@lawsociety.org.uk.

The information above does not constitute legal advice. It was drafted by the Law Society of England and Wales on the basis of desk research, bilateral relations with European Bars and engagement with members.

The Law Society cannot be held liable for actions taken on the basis of this note or lack thereof. In case of specific queries, we strongly advise you to consider instructing external counsel to obtain advice specific to your business objectives.