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Today Sophie in 't Veld submitted a question to the Commission about whether certain measurements of the Member States might limit the offer and quality of lawyers for individuals having legal expenses insurance.
Legal expenses insurance and the right to choose a lawyer
As laid down in Council Directive 87/344/EEC, individuals covered by a legal expenses insurance, have the right to choose a lawyer. According to the case law of the CJEU, the right to choose a lawyer does not preclude measures by Member States to reduce costs, as long as the essence of the principles laid down in Directive 87/334/EEC is not rendered meaningless.
In the Netherlands, insurers are given the self-regulatory possibility to take such measures, resulting in varying fee rates and in limitations to lawyers that are directly working as employees for the insurer. Questions have been raised about the quality of such lawyers in comparison with independently practicing lawyers, and about whether this affects the right to choose a legal representative.
Does the Commission:
Consider that the Netherlands has properly transposed and implemented Directive 87/344/EEC, especially as regards the principle of the right to choose a lawyer as laid down in Article 4(1) of that Directive?
Intend to further monitor and, if necessary, take measures to ensure that the right to choose a lawyer is safeguarded across all EU Member States?