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On 7 April of this year, the European Court of Justice has once again given two judgements on the free choice of a lawyer, in which the concept was more closely defined.

On 19 December 2013, we already reported the judgement of the European Court of Justice of 7 November 2013, which was that an insured person should always be allowed to choose his or her own lawyer in legal or administrative proceedings. On 7 April of this year, the European Court of Justice has once again given two judgements on the free choice of a lawyer, in which the concept was more closely defined.

In the cases that led to these judgements of the Court of Justice, the insurance company argued that dismissal proceedings before the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) and an administrative objection to a rejection of a care needs assessment of the Care Assessment Centre (Centrum Indicatiestelling Zorg CIZ) should not be considered “legal or administrative proceedings”, meaning that there is no right to free choice of a lawyer. In these proceedings, the Supreme Court asked the Court of Justice to give an opinion on the scope of the term “legal or administrative proceedings”.

According to the Court of Justice, the term “legal or administrative proceedings” must be interpreted broadly, and includes the abovementioned dismissal proceedings before the UWV and the abovementioned objection proceedings before the CIZ. In other words, the insurance companies lost out in these cases.

The conclusion of these judgements is that, in dismissal proceedings before the UWV and in objection proceedings before an administrative body, insured persons are entitled to free choice of a lawyer, which means that these insured persons may engage an external lawyer at the insurance company’s expense.

If you have a question about this subject, you can contact our office, +31 10 209 2777 or by e-mail info@lvh-advocaten.nl.

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