The Netherlands Bar
The Netherlands Bar (Nederlandse orde van advocaten, NOvA) is the professional organisation of the legal profession.
The NOvA was established by the Act on Advocates (Advocatenwet) with effect from 1 October 1952. All lawyers in the Netherlands jointly form the NOvA. The NOvA is established by law, but does not receive any government funding. All costs incurred by the NOvA are being paid for by the lawyers through an annual financial contribution to the Netherlands Bar. As a result, the NOVA is completely independent of the government.
The Netherlands is judicially divided into eleven judicial districts (regions), the jurisdictions of the courts. The lawyers in a judicial district form the (local) bar within the judicial district where the lawyer holds office. Each local bar is chaired by a council of the local bar (raad van de orde) and a local bar president. A local bar president is chosen by the lawyers in the judicial district. The local bar president is responsible for the supervision of all lawyers in the judicial district.
The general management is a task of the general council (algemene raad, AR). The NOvA is headed by a secretary general. The secretary general is in charge of the daily management.
The general council is supported by the office of the NOvA. The office carries out policies and prepares proposals which are of importance to the legal profession. The office consists of four departments: Communications, Finance and Organization, Policy and Regulations and Supervision. The office employs approximately 60 employees.
The NOvA draws up regulations and rules for the legal profession: the Legal Profession Bye-law and the Legal Profession Regulations. The adoption thereof is done by the board of representatives (college van afgevaardigden). The 54 deputies of the board are all chosen by lawyers in their own judicial district/region.
Act on Advocates
The Act on Advocates governs the profession of lawyers. Under this law, the lawyer is compulsory part of the NOvA. On the basis of this Act, the NOvA may lay down rules for the professional practice, such as the financial administration and compulsory professional insurance. The lawyer is required to undergo continuous training on a yearly basis and is monitored thereon by the central monitoring of the regulations for continuous training.
The bar registration (tableau) contains all lawyers who may exercise their profession within the eleven judicial districts (regions) in the Netherlands. This national list is being maintained by the bar registration. The list includes the office name, business address, phone numbers, data of the lawyer such as name, date of birth and e-mail address, and other practical information. Lawyers are registered after having been sworn in or after admission if they meet all requirements. Disbarment can take place at own request, by a decision of the disciplinary board or after the expiration of a conditional registration.
Find a lawyer
This functionality of the European e-Justice Portal allows you to easily find a lawyer throughout the EU. This service is provided by the European Commission in collaboration with the currently participating national bar registers.
Confidential information holders’ number
In 2011 the number recognition system was introduced in the Netherlands. The NOvA considers a reliable number recognition system essential because conversations between laywers and their client must always be able to be held in strict confidence. You can read the factsheet for more information.
- Act on Advocates
- Legal Profession Bye-law
- Explanatory notes to the Legal Profession Bye-Law
- Legal Profession Regulations
- Code of Conduct 2018
- Code of Conduct for European Lawyers
- Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers
- General information for European lawyers (produit fini) and European graduates (produit infini)
- Factsheet confidential information holders’ number