If your income and assets are below the statutory limit, you may be eligible for legal aid. This means that the Dutch State pays some or all of your lawyer’s fees. You then only have to pay a personal contribution, which VAN LEEUWEN LAW FIRM will pass on to you. To find out whether your income is below the statutory limit, please visit the website of the Dutch Legal Aid Board (www.rechtsbijstand.nl). This is the body that deals with and assesses applications for legal aid.
The lawyer will submit an application for legal aid on your behalf. To be able to submit an application, we will require a copy of proof of your identity showing your citizen service number (BSN number, formerly known as ‘sofi-nummer’). If you do not (yet) have a BSN number, we will require your alien registration number (vreemdelingennummer). If you have a partner with whom you share a joint household, we will also require a copy of his or her proof of identity and BSN number or alien registration number. This is because the Dutch Legal Aid Board looks at the family income. And finally, you will need to tell us the address the municipality has registered for you.
The Dutch Legal Aid Board will use this information to retrieve details of your income from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration to be able to decide whether you are eligible for legal aid. They will look at your income in the year two years prior to the year in which the application for legal aid is submitted (this is the reference year). If you are eligible for legal aid, you may still be required to pay a personal contribution. The personal contribution depends on the level of your income in the reference year. Please refer to the website of the Dutch Legal Aid Board for the amount of the personal contribution.
It is possible that the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration has not yet taken a final decision on your income for the reference year. In that case, the Dutch Legal Aid Board will perform a re-inspection a year after the application. If it then turns out that you were not eligible for legal aid after all, the Dutch Legal Aid Board will reclaim any amounts it has paid to the lawyer from you, with retroactive effect.
If the Dutch Legal Aid Board rejects the application for legal aid because your income in the reference year exceeded the statutory financial limits, there is an option of asking the Board to make the current year the reference year. This is only possible, however, if your income has fallen considerably in the meantime. You will have to submit such a request to change the reference year to the Board yourself. Should you wish to do this, you can contact us and we will send you the relevant form.
If your case leads to a financial gain for you, and you then have sufficient assets to be able to pay your lawyer’s fees yourself, the legal aid may be withdrawn with retroactive effect.
If you are eligible for legal aid, you can receive a discount of €53,= on your lawyer’s fees. You will first have to call the Legal Aid and Advice Centre (Juridisch Loket) and ask them to refer you to one of our lawyers. In that case, you will receive a discount of €53,= on the personal contribution linked to the legal aid.