Legal aid is the provision of assistance to people who are unable to afford legal representation and access to the court system. Legal aid is regarded as central in providing access to justice by ensuring equality before the law, the right to counsel and the right to a fair trial. The eligibility for legal aid is based on both the client’s annual income and his assets. The Legal Aid Board verifies the client’s personal data with those in the municipal population register and checks the applicant’s income and assets with the tax authorities. It is able to do so with the aid of a ‘burgerservicenummer’ (citizen service number) (BSN); this is a unique identification number, which every Dutch citizen receives when registering in the municipal population register. Thanks to online connections with the tax authorities, the Legal Aid Board is able to rapidly obtain information concerning the applicant’s income and assets. Additionally, also non-Dutch litigants receive legal aid when they have a problem that concerns the Dutch legal system.

However, requests can be made to change the reference year, if the applicant’s income and/or assets in the year of application has decreased substantially compared to that in the reference year. This holds if the applicant’s reference-year income and/or assets would not make him eligible for legal aid, whereas his present income and/or assets will. If an applicant wishes to be eligible for a lower contribution, his income needs to have decreased by at least 15% compared to the reference year.

When a client receives a certain sum of money because of the result of a procedure, his certificate will be withdrawn retroactively. He will be expected to pay his own lawyer.

Assessment of the applicant’s income and assets level (and hence his eligibility for legal aid) is based on his situation two years prior to the application date, the so-called reference year.

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Terms and Conditions

All cases handled by Causa Finalis Law Firm are subject to our Terms and Conditions, a copy of which is enclosed with the engagement letter we send you confirming our acceptance of your case.

Complaints procedure

If you are not satisfied with the conduct of any of our lawyers during the progress of your case or after its completion, you are free to lodge a formal complaint by making use of our complaints procedure, the details of which will be supplied to you upon request. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of this procedure, you can make use of the Complaints and Dispute Procedure for the Legal Profession (‘Geschillenregeling Advocatuur’).